Stephen A. Smith was in true fear for his life during a bout with COVID-19 that included pneumonia in both his lungs as well as a sky-high fever.
Smith returned to “First Take” for the first time in several weeks as he dealt with the deadly disease. On Monday, he took some time on the show to explain what he was ging through as he spent the first day of 2022 in the hospital.
Smith tested positive in mid-December but it really hit him right before his hospitalization.
“You’re assuming that you’ll have a fever, might have a cough, gonna have that massive headache — but you’ll get over it,” he said. “In a lot of cases that was the case. In my case it was totally different.
“I had 103 degree fever every night. Woke up with chills and a pool of sweat. Headaches were massive. Coughing profusely. And it got to a point where right before New Year’s Eve, I was in the hospital into New Year’s Day. That’s how I brought in the New Year.”
“I can’t tell you how lucky and sincerely blessed I am to be sitting here with you guys today,” Smith told his co-hosts, “because two-and-a-half, three weeks ago, I didn’t know if I was going to make it.”
Smith said doctors told him if he hadn’t been vaccinated, he likely would be dead.
“They told me, had I not been vaccinated, I wouldn’t be here. That’s how bad it was. I had pneumonia in both lungs. My liver was bad. It had ravaged me to the point where even now I have monitor my volume — get to the gym every day, walk before you run. Work your way back because I’m still not 100 percent with my lungs, but I’m COVID negative. I’m on the road to recovery.
“But if it wasn’t for several doctors, I wouldn’t be here. Love and respect for what they did. Love and respect for people in the sports community and ESPN executives for checking on me every single day. Dave Roberts, Norby Williamson, Jimmy Pitaro — I can’t thank you enough.”
Smith advocated for people to wear masks to protect others.
“Everybody’s different, he said. “My sister smokes and she had COVID and she was fine in 3-4 days. Me? I don’t smoke and it almost took me out.
“I think the one thing to emphasize the importance of, no matter how you feel about the vaccine, that mask is important. The reason why the mask is so important is you don’t know how the next person is affected. How I’m affected is different from you are affected.
It was great to have him back, because not even COVID could stop him from roasting the Cowboys and their fan base after they lost on Sunday and got eliminated from the playoffs.