On June 8, Asia Durr was diagnosed with COVID-19.
The New York Liberty guard was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft after a spectacular college career at Louisville. She was expected to be an important key to the Liberty’s young core for the 2020 campaign that included the 2020 No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu, creating a tandem aimed at wrecking havoc on the league for years to come.
COVID-19 kept that from becoming a reality last year, and it’s possible it will keep it from being a reality at all.
In July, Durr opted out of the 2020 season.
Now more than six months later, Durr is still suffering from COVID-19. She is one of the disease’s long haulers, and it has put her basketball career and overall health into question.
This week, Asia Durr opened up about her experience with COVID-19 on Real Sports HBO, revealed just how severe her situation is.
“I couldn’t breath, I was spitting up blood,” Durr said of when she was at her sickest. “(I had) lung pain that was just so severe. It felt like somebody took a long knife and was stabbing you in your lungs each second. I woke up two o’clock in the morning vomiting, going back and forth to the bathroom. I couldn’t keep anything down.”
While Asia Durr isn’t consistently feeling that bad now, the lingering effects of COVID-19 are still strongly affecting her daily life.
“There’s days where I feel great, like I could go out and go to the store or I could clean up,” Durr explained. “And then there’s days where I’m like, ‘I just have to stay in the bed,’ and you just feel like you got hit by a bus.”
This isn’t Joe the Plumber, weighing it at three bills and drinking nothing but Bud Light and soda who is saying this – it’s an elite-level 23-year-old athlete who was supposed to have a lengthy professional basketball career ahead of her.
Asia Durr left Louisville in 2019 as a two-time ACC Player of the Year, has her name littering throughout the Louisville and ACC record books, and was considered one of the brightest young stars in women’s hoops. Now, she struggles to breathe on a regular basis.
As of Jan. 27, 2021, the date I am writing this, the United States has experienced more than 26 million total cases and more than 436,000 deaths, with that number expected to reach 500,000 in the coming months. A good portion of those many millions of cases so far, plus the likely many millions to come, have recovered. But the lingering effects of the disease are still felt by some, and the long-term damage COVID-19 can cause to its victims won’t be known for some time.
No, you are not likely to die if you catch COVID-19. The odds of survival are in your favor, especially if you fit the mold Durr does. However, obesity is a leading factor in handling COVID-19 poorly, and the CDC reports that 73.6 percent of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight, while 42.5 percent are obese. If you’re reading this, there is a good probability that you do not have even close to the physical fitness Durr does. And even if it doesn’t kill you, it can alter your life and health in ways I can guarantee you’d like to avoid.
Durr is one of many who are in it for the long haul, and she is not only young but a high-level athlete. If it can happen to her, it can certainly happen to you or someone you love.
This is not meant to instill panic. Catastrophizing will not help. But Durr’s story should, and must, serve as yet another warning: COVID-19 is not a game. It is not something to ignore. It is not something to treat flippantly. It is ruining lives, and if knowing that your actions can ruin innocent lives isn’t enough to affect your behavior, then perhaps understanding that your life and the lives of those you love can be ruined, too, is enough to sway you.
What has happened to Asia Durr is tragic. What has happened to 436,000 Americans and more than 2 million people around the world so far is tragic. The ensuing economic fallout that has plummeted millions across the globe into poverty is tragic. Much of it is out of your control – the actions of governments, the actions of others, and the advancement of science to combat the pandemic – but not everything. You can choose to wear a mask, to socially distance, to wash your hands, and to limit your exposure to others outside of your household. You can choose to stay home if you experience symptoms. You can choose to be vaccinated once the opportunity is available.
And if doing it for Durr and the many millions of people you’ll never know, never see and never hear from isn’t enough for you, maybe thinking about what it could mean for you and your loved ones if you contracted it will help you see the bigger picture. All you have to do is listen to Asia Durr – I know I definitely don’t want to experience what she has.