ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith returned to First Take on Monday after a recent bout with COVID-19, which he said led to a stay in a hospital.
Smith publicly announced his positive COVID-19 test result on Dec. 21, saying he had mild symptoms. However, Smith said this past Monday he wound up in the hospital over New Year's Eve due to the virus.
”[Doctors] told me, had I not been vaccinated, I wouldn't be here. That's how bad I was," Smith said. "I had pneumonia in both lungs. My liver was bad, and it ravaged me to the point where even now I have to monitor my volume, get to the gym every day.”
”I'm still not 100% with my lungs, but I'm COVID-19 negative ... I'm on the road to recovery.”
Smith added that he had a 103 degree fever ”every night.” He also suffered from chills and sweating.
”Love and respect for people in the sports community and ESPN executives for checking on me every single day,” Smith said. ”Dave Roberts, Norby Williamson, Jimmy Pitaro—I can’t thank you enough.”
Smith's initial positive test came amid a surge in cases in the United States. As noted by CNN, he was one of many TV personalities to recently test positive for COVID-19. NBC's Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers also all said they recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Smith said Monday he was ”ecstatic to be back,” noting, "I can't tell you how lucky and sincerely blessed I am to be sitting here with you guys today because two-and-a-half, three weeks ago, I didn't know if I was gonna make it.”
His return also fell on the morning after the Cowboys lost in the postseason, a result which appeared to bring Smith equal delight.
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