Boselli On Bout With COVID-19: People Were Dying Across The Hall

Former Jaguars All-Pro Tony Boselli reflected on his life-threatening battle with coronavirus 

Tiki and Tierney
April 07, 2020 - 5:47 pm
Tony Boselli NFL

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If the coronavirus has shown anything, it has shown that it does not discriminate, it does not care who you are, and it can put otherwise healthy people in life-or-death situations.

Former Jaguars great and current Westwood One NFL analyst Tony Boselli knows this firsthand.

“I don’t know if I was on death’s door. It felt like it,” Boselli said on Tiki & Tierney, reflecting on his bout with COVID-19. “I think the scariest thing about the whole experience was the virus kind of takes a life of its own, and you just don’t know what direction it’s going to go. I was with some of the best doctors in the world and when they look at you and they’re like, ‘Listen, we need to get you to the ICU because we need to watch you closely and get you on all these drugs because we really don’t know what direction this thing is going to go [in], and it can get bad quick’ – that’s the scariest part. You’re sitting there, like, ‘What do you mean you don’t know where this is going to go?’ That’s where your mind starts going to some pretty dark places.”

Boselli and his wife both tested positive for COVID-19. Both have recovered, but Boselli’s symptoms were far more severe. He felt like he had a “minor flu” for four or five days and even felt like he was getting better.

He wasn’t.

“All of a sudden I woke up one day and I could feel my lungs filling up and my chest getting a little bit heavy,” Boselli said. “You could hear yourself wheezing. And then you hear all this news out there, reality sets in this could get serious fast.”

Boselli, a four-time Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist, was hospitalized and put on oxygen.

“Was I in pain? I don’t know what I was in,” Boselli said. “I just felt so lousy, and breathing was not easy. Then you, on top of all that, [have these] thoughts of fear. People are dying from this across the hallway from where I’m staying and you’re sitting there. You’re convincing yourself, ‘Wait, I’m 47 years old, I’m healthy, everything is going to be fine.’ But at the same time, you don’t know. Is this going to kill me? What’s going to happen? . . . The scariest thing is you can have no family around you. You’re in isolation, so it can be a pretty lonely time as well.”

Asked when sports could conceivably resume, Boselli doesn’t know. He doesn’t think it’s worth trying to speculate, either. 

“I can’t imagine being older or having a health issue and going through what I did,” Boselli said. “It was scary enough laying there not knowing [what would happen]. I’m hoping for the best and always believing the best, but there were times when you lay there and you hear things from doctors and you’re like, ‘My goodness, is this going to turn out the right way?’ I think it’s just a time that we really think about each other, and hopefully if we do that and we’re diligent over the next several weeks, we can slowly [start] to get back out there. It’s a tough time for all of us, and it’s a time to really think of each other and try to take care of each other.”