‘It was scary’: Vaccinated NFL star rushed to emergency room after Covid-19 scare
Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Dakota Dozier, who is vaccinated, was rushed to the emergency room after experiencing breathing difficulties after contracting Covid-19, team officials have confirmed.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer announced during a Wednesday press conference that a player with the team had developed complications related to a Covid-19 infection, with subsequent reporting revealing the star in question was the 30-year-old Dozier, who was placed on the team's Covid-19 reserve list shortly afterwards.
"One of our players that was vaccinated, he had to go to the ER last night because of Covid. It's serious stuff," said Zimmer, adding that the player was still receiving treatment in hospital.
"I'm not a doctor, but it was Covid pneumonia or something, he had a hard time breathing.
"He's stable now, but it was scary."
Zimmer also stated that up to 29 members of the Vikings playing and coaching staff had been deemed as close contacts to Dozier and they will be required to submit negative tests in order to be eligible to play in the team's Sunday game away to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Prior to the start of the NFL season, Zimmer had noted epidemiologist Dr Michael Osterholm speak with his roster to inform them of the dangers of Covid-19 and answers any queries that players may have had about the safety and efficacy of the various vaccines currently available against the illness.
At the time the Vikings vaccination rate lagged behind most other teams in the NFL – with star quarterback Kirk Cousins being at the time among the most high profile players to have expressed hesitancy at taking the vaccine.
This came amid a league-wide plan to vaccinate as many players as possible after the previous season saw numerous interruptions and sidesteps as a result of Covid-19 infections breaking out within team facilities, leading to several unusual situations such as the Denver Broncos being forced to play a game without a recognized quarterback, or Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski having to watch his team's first playoff game in two decades from his basement after developing a mild case of Covid-19.
Dozier's infection, along with the several others noted within the team's facility, comes amid surging numbers in Minnesota. The rate of positive tests has been rising steadily since before August - with well over 5,000 new cases of infection recorded on Wednesday.
The various vaccines have been credited with reducing serious illness from Covid-19, although a high level of so-called 'breakthrough infections' are still being recorded amongst vaccinated people.
The NFL has introduced strict policies to separate vaccinated and non-vaccinated players, with financial penalties - such as those imposed on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers this week - placed upon unvaccinated players found to have disobeyed league mandates.