ST. LOUIS – Blues play-by-play announcer John Kelly hopes his battle with COVID-19 will help future patients.
It just isn’t Blues hockey without that voice.
The good news is when the Blues come back, Kelly will be healthy and ready to go.
“I don’t have any more of the virus. I do have antibodies. I’m clear and good,” he said.
Kelly was diagnosed with double pneumonia at an urgent care March 16 and was tested for COVID-19. He then waited 11 days in self-quarantine before his result came back positive.
Kelly was not hospitalized.
“In hindsight, I’m really glad it took 11 days because had I known at the time that I had the virus in addition to pneumonia, I think it would have scared the heck out of me,” he said.
Kelly’s wife and three kids have not gotten sick and have not met the criteria to be tested, he said. The entire family is still staying home and social distancing.
He’s hopeful hockey will be back in the summer and the Blues will get to defend their Stanley Cup title.
His now-personal connection to the pandemic brings perspective: our sports heroes pale in comparison to those fighting to keep us well.
“A lot are putting their lives on the line by treating these patients. They truly deserve everything: all of the thoughts and prayers and thanks that we can give them because they really are heroes in all of this,” Kelly said.
“Having said that, sports is a big part of our lives. A lot of people follow a team or follow a sport because they love the sport but also because it’s a diversion from reality. My goodness, we really need that now, don’t we? It’s scary knowing people are getting more sick than I did and dying from it. It’s so contagious as we know. My takeaway is to do what authorities are telling us to do and stay inside, social distance, because it’s real.”
Kelly’s now part of a medical study which may mean those antibodies in his plasma may be used to help fight the infection in others in the future. That would be his best takeaway of all.