ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The video coordinator for Georgia’s football team was released from the hospital Thursday after becoming critically ill from the coronavirus.
Head coach Kirby Smart was among hundreds on hand at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center to cheer the dismissal of 32-year-old Jeremy Klawsky, who spent nearly six weeks in the hospital after falling ill from the virus that has claimed more than 140,000 victims around the world.
Klawsky will continue to receive therapy as part of the recovery process from COVID-19.
”We are just thrilled that he is home,” his mother, Sherry Klawsky, told the Athens Banner-Herald. ”The hardest part of when he was on the ventilator is over. He’s home now and he can start to get stronger and really move forward.”
Hospital employees applauded Klawsky as he exited the facility in a wheelchair. Smart was among the school officials who waited outside to provide support, a group that also included athletic director Greg McGarity, director of sports medicine Ron Courson, and other coaches.
Courson said the athletic department is ”very appreciative of the outstanding medical care and support he received during his hospitalization.”
Klawsky started as an assistant football video coordinator at Georgia in 2018 and has since been promoted to video coordinator. He films game footage that goes to NFL teams, is involved with videos used for recruiting, and provides specialized clips to the coaching staff.
Klawsky is a native of Plantation, Florida who graduated from Nova Southeastern University, where he studied sports and recreation management. He also has worked for the Detroit Lions and interned with both the Miami Dolphins and baseball’s Miami Marlins.
Klawsky became ill on March 2 and went to an urgent care center, where he tested positive for the flu, his mother said. His condition worsened to the point where he had a 105-degree temperature on March 10, leading to his hospitalization in the intensive care unit.
He remained in the ICU for four weeks, surviving with the aid of a breathing tube.
Klawsky did not have any underlying condition that would have made him more susceptible to the virus, according to his mother.
”What probably helped him to no end, he exercises almost every day,” she said. ”There’s a gym right by where he lives. That’s his life: the football team, exercising and every sport you can think of. He was in great shape.”
Georgia officials had notified the campus last month that an athletic department employee tested positive for the virus, but did not identify him until Thursday. The school said another athletics staff member had contact with the victim and was under self quarantine at home with no symptoms.
Georgia said 29 members of the university community have tested positive for the virus.
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