Sports leagues have justified playing during the COVID-19 pandemic despite risking the health of athletes.
Myles Garrett is proof of the serious, lasting effects for a professional.
The Cleveland Browns defensive end admitted Sunday following his team's win over the New York Giants that he is still not yet 100 percent and struggles with his breathing following a bout with coronavirus that caused him to miss two games.
"I am just getting over a coughing fit from the locker room earlier," said Garrett, who returned to action in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans. "I am trying to get some water into my system and be able to breathe. Taking those deep big breaths are tough right now with the shortness of breath and that turning into a cough or getting choked up. You just have to find a way.
"It is about desire. It does not matter how I feel, I have to do something on the field. When I get off of the field, I can catch my breath and maybe go see someone and try to work with someone. Hopefully, if we make it to the playoffs, I can try to get myself to as close to 100 percent as possible."
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) rushes the passer during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo: David Richard, AP)
Garrett told reporters last week he was completing breathing treatments four times a day.
"It's bound to affect your lungs, and I feel like I need those to be out there and give my full effort," he said. "It is hard to make a move or do something that you know is going to expend a lot of energy, knowing that you have to do it again the next play and the next play.
"I am trying not to think about it during the game. Just make sure I get as much oxygen as I can and keep rolling."
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
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