Former NFL star Tony Boselli: Coronavirus battle was a scary, lonely time

Former Jaguars player spends 5 days in ICU battling COVID-19

25 Oct 1998: Tony Boselli #71 of the Jacksonville Jaguars pushes Maa Tanuvasa #98 of the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Jaguars 37- 24. (Stephen Dunn)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli is recovering from a battle with coronavirus, saying the illness and five-day stay in the intensive care unit was a scary, lonely time.

On Thursday, Boselli, a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist and the first draft pick in Jaguars history, spoke publicly for the first time since being released from the hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and spending five days in the intensive care unit at Mayo Clinic, News 6 sister station WJXT-TV reported.

“No. 1, you don’t think its ever going to be you, that you’re going to get it,” Boselli said on the Jaguars Happy Hour radio show. “And then when you do get it, you think, you know, I’m young, I’m only 47 years old, fully healthy, have no health issues, this will be kind of a quick thing, turn it around and do it. Next thing you know, you’re in the ICU and on a bunch of machines hooked up to oxygen.”

Boselli said the illness began just like a normal cold, perhaps maybe allergies. When he woke up the morning of March 18, Boselli said that he felt terrible. That day, he learned through a phone call that he’d been around people who had tested positive for the virus.

Boselli said that he called his doctor and went in to be tested. He found out on March 20 that he was positive for COVID-19.

Boselli said that he didn’t feel the best, but remained home until March 24. The following day, Boselli went to the hospital. He spent five days in ICU, a lonely and “scary” time where Boselli said his thoughts ran wild, and he was not in the best of places.

“I thought I was just going in to get some fluids and some medicine,” Boselli said. “And next thing I knew, I was there for five days.”

Boselli said that the medical professionals were great throughout the process and had words of advice for those who weren’t taking the precautions seriously.

“It’s time right now to listen to the healthcare professionals, (to) what they’re telling us,” he said. “They’re not making this up.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.