“It’s just a lot of work,” Foster told the media. “I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough.”
Justin Foster puttered about his Clemson apartment for two weeks last summer, working out as best he could while waiting for his COVID-19 quarantine to end. He was one of more than 40 Clemson football players who test positive, and his symptoms, like the most of them, were minor.
He returned to the field after 14 days, having officially healed.
Something didn’t feel quite right. He struggled to breathe while running from the first exercise, and he fell in bed following practices. There was no amount of sleep that could make up for that.
“You’re still so weary even when you’re feeling your best,” he adds. “You won’t be able to keep up. You won’t be able to accomplish anything.”
Doubt crept in as it grew more difficult to function. Perhaps something was wrong with him, or perhaps it was something else entirely. “It was almost to the point where I simply felt lazy,” he recalls, despite a lifetime of proof to the contrary.
Foster had no idea, and would have no idea for months, that he was a member of the COVID-19 population, which was only starting to emerge. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he was a long-hauler, someone whose symptoms lasted more than four weeks after the first infection.
Long-haulers have reported a peculiar mix of symptoms, including headaches, painful joints, shortness of breath, itchy skin, sore teeth, unusual rashes, muscular spasms, and brain fog, in addition to tiredness. But for many individuals, there is another side effect that is more difficult to cope with: You feel as though you’re going insane.
You feel like you should be able to force yourself out of it, show some courage or get-up-and-go, but your body simply won’t cooperate. And, like Foster, you begin to feel that you are just lazy, and you are concerned that others will not believe you. Because you don’t always believe in yourself.
I didn’t do it. In March 2020, I contracted COVID-19, and by June, I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t pull myself together. Since then, I haven’t felt like myself for a single day.
He’s a 22-year-old North Carolina athlete who aspired to play in the NFL. I’m a 52-year-old journalist from New Jersey who enjoys running.
We spoke about what it was like to suddenly no longer be yourself, and the continuous self-doubt that came with it, right from the start. Who are we if we can’t do the things we used to do?
You spend your whole life stumbling across boundaries and defining yourself based on how you respond to them. Then long-haul COVID confronts you with limitations you don’t understand or didn’t expect to face for years. And no one can tell you whether you have one more week or the rest of your life ahead of you.
Clemson defensive end Justin Foster was projected to be a fourth- to seventh-round NFL draft selection before the 2020 college football season. Then COVID-19 put him on the shelf. Getty Images/Jeff Silva/Icon Sportswire
JUSTIN FOSTER grew up in Shelby, North Carolina, a town of approximately 20,000 people just west of Charlotte, where he learned to say “yes, ma’am/yes, sir.”
He was quiet, like his parents, he claims. He’s still eerily silent. He wasn’t a natural athlete or one of those youngsters who felt compelled to participate in sports.
“Because I was bigger than everyone else, I was obliged to play most of the time. I was clumsy and lacked coordination “he declares “Just because they’d instruct me to tackle the guy with the ball, I was very excellent at football.”
He was a linebacker in high school, garnering national recognition as a junior after recording 67 tackles during Crest High School’s undefeated 2015 season. (In the state championship, he recorded ten tackles.) Mark Barnes, his coach, gave him a phone one day and said someone wanted to talk with him. Dabo Swinney was the one who offered him a scholarship.
Foster claims that just one member of his immediate family had attended college, and it had never occurred to him that football might make him the second. He’d been considering trade school or the military, places where he could put his skills to good use by dismantling any equipment, determining what was wrong with it, and then putting it back together.
“Everyone else saw me as a ballplayer,” he recalls, “but it hadn’t really dawned on me that it was my identity and what I truly wanted to accomplish.”
Foster was shifted to defensive end by Clemson, and for his first three seasons, he was mainly a role player on a loaded squad, demonstrating pass-rushing skills. The NFL, on the other hand, was becoming a possibility. He was named to the All-ACC Academic Team and honorable mention All-ACC in 2019. (He earned a 3.24 GPA and a bachelor’s degree in building sciences in December 2020.)
Foster’s teammates explain the two sides of him they’ve seen. There’s “Mater,” a rusted tow truck from the cartoon film “Cars.” “Mater” Foster is a laid-back rural lad who repairs their cars and replaces their flat tires.
Then there’s Foster, who takes his spot on the defensive line’s edge.
Myles Murphy, a teammate, describes him as a “straight power rusher.” “He enjoys going through the tackle and people. Player with a lot of aggression. We enjoy it when things are a little tense.”
Foster was a plausible “Day 3” NFL draft selection, meaning anywhere between the fourth and seventh rounds, according to a number of scouting websites prior to the 2020 season. A strong season may propel him to the top of the rankings.
Foster was at his house in Clemson on June 25, 2020, when he received a text message from the team’s training department informing him that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He just had a runny nose at the moment, which he thought was due to allergies.
The difficulty started when he returned to practice two weeks later. He’d had asthma his whole life, but he always felt in control and seldom needed an inhaler. He was now out of breath the whole day. And he felt compelled to do something that went against every fiber of his being: beg for assistance.
Danny Poole, the team’s head of sports medicine and a 40-year athletic trainer, says, “There are certain players who may have a little bit wrong with them and they drag it out for a length of time.” “With Justin, he’s one of those people that, if he walks in and says something’s wrong, you better believe it.”
Justin Foster questioned why he was the only one of his teammates who hadn’t completely recovered from the virus when he returned to practice after a positive COVID-19 test. ESPN’s Phyllis B. Dooney
EVERY DISCUSSION OF LONG-HAUL COVID MUST BEGIN WITH THE CONDITION THAT NO ONE UNDERSTANDS IT COMPLETELY. Experts still disagree on what long-haul COVID is and how to characterize it almost two years after the epidemic began.
When Foster and I discovered we weren’t getting better more than a year ago, there was no agreement that long-haul COVID existed. Some physicians believed their patients were still sick with the illness but that the virus was evading detection; others believed their patients had PTSD.
Long-haul syndrome affects around 30% of individuals infected with COVID-19, according to University of Washington researchers. The intensity and symptoms differ dramatically. Some individuals are unwell, while others are unable to leave their beds for days on end.
Long-haulers’ immune systems, scientists think, behave as though they’re still being attacked by the virus for some unexplained reason. Like a hornet’s nest, physical or mental stress, even positive stress, disrupts the whole system. Doctors urge their patients to move about to avoid becoming totally inactive. However, if you have a motivated mentality like a college football player who is used to disregarding pain and exhaustion, that drive may exacerbate the symptoms.
However, how it all occurs and how to deal with it are still hotly debated topics.
Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease physician and researcher at Columbia University, says, “We all agree that something is amiss with the immune system.” “I still don’t believe we’ve figured out why the immune system hasn’t reset itself,” she says.
I was never hospitalized while I was infected, and I never had respiratory or cardiac issues. I was ill for three weeks, the worst of which was a four-day stretch during which I slept an average of 18 hours each day. After being ill for a few weeks, I thought that as soon as I regained my running legs, I’d be back to normal. I felt out of shape on my first run, but nothing more. My lungs started to hurt approximately 36 hours later, as if I had been inhaling smoke. I was completely spent. I spent the following couple of days in bed, wondering why I was so weary and whether I had gotten too used to spending my days in bed. I developed a pattern of recovering, attempting to run, and then experiencing the same delayed response that slowed me down again. I tried going for walks, but the same thing happened.
After 35 days on a ventilator, a buddy who had survived the virus had regained his pre-COVID strength, but I hadn’t. It didn’t make any sense. I just need to get back into shape, I said again. I’m going to have to push through it. And one of the first things that comes up while flying long-haul is the issue of whether you’re imagining things or whether your mental strength isn’t up to the task.
Justin Foster said he had to control his expectations about whether his health would improve during medical appointments. ESPN’s Phyllis B. Dooney
Before returning to full exercises, CLEMSON PLAYERS with COVID-19 went through a number of stages. They began by jogging lightly, then sprinting, and then exercising in a green jersey, which meant no contact, and constantly checking in with the trainer at the end of the day.
The primary worry, according to Poole, was ensuring that athletes didn’t develop myocarditis, an uncommon but possibly deadly heart inflammation associated to COVID-19 at the time. A month after being infected, players were usually back to full pace. All of the afflicted players have claimed full recovery. With the exception of Foster.
Foster’s teammates saw him raising his hand during exercises and requested that he be rotated out so he could regain his breath. They’d never seen anything like that before.
“It signifies something significant if he takes the time to step out,” teammate K.J. Henry adds. “He understands the distinction between pain and damage.”
Foster claims that the more he pushed himself, the worse it became.
He explains, “I didn’t want to be the one who wasn’t working out or the one who was constantly having a problem and had to go to the training room and deal with it.” “It was a lot psychologically, and I was pretty much depressed all the time. I had no idea what was about to happen.”
Foster and Swinney used a shorthand to keep track of how he was feeling. Swinney would wave his thumb in three directions — up, sideways, and down — and Foster would react by waving his thumb in the same three directions. Too frequently, it was down or sideways.
He wasn’t able to train at all after a few weeks. Foster sat in the corner with a nebulizer strapped to his face every day as his teammates walked into the training room to be taped up or treated.
“I simply recall him approaching me and being somewhat broken down. ‘Coach, I can’t do it,’ he replied.” Swinney explains. “We’re all programmed as athletes, particularly football players, to go and [be] like, ‘Hey, snap out of it.’ But there was something more going on that you couldn’t see. It’s not like you’ve ripped your ACL or broken a bone or anything like that.”
Foster was concerned that his teammates mistook him for a slacker. They say no. Quite the contrary, in fact. The fact that Foster was having trouble worried them. “No one felt he was sluggish. We know he did all he needed to do to prepare every day “Murphy asserts.
“‘Am I going to be next?’ wondered the whole squad, who had no clue what was going on. Why did he respond in such a hostile manner to COVID? Will I have the same reaction if I acquire COVID?’”
Foster had reached a point when climbing the stairwell at the football complex was too much for him. “For a long time, it was simply a really gloomy place,” Foster recalls.
Foster went to bed late one night in the summer of 2020, just after 11 p.m., when he felt an asthma attack coming on. He took a puff from his inhaler, as he normally does during an episode. It was a complete failure.
In the midst of a pandemic, he didn’t want to contact 911 or go to an emergency hospital, so he phoned Poole, the trainer.
Poole claims he was struck by Foster’s anxiety and urged him to come to the team’s facilities as soon as possible. Poole and the team physician placed Foster on a nebulizer and guided him through breathing exercises until the episode eased a few hours later.
The training team brought Foster to many local physicians in the weeks that followed, all of whom arrived to the same conclusion: there was no medical issue they could find.
“Is it like, am I insane?” Foster explains. “Is there anything wrong with me psychologically that I can’t go past?”
Justin Foster, according to Clemson teammates and staff, is not one to embellish ailments. ESPN’s Phyllis B. Dooney
IT WASN’T JUST HIS BODY THAT WAS THE PROBLEM. Foster attended summer courses and found that his mind couldn’t comprehend what was in front of him whether he sat at a computer or attempted to read a book. This is coming from someone who was named to the All-ACC Academic Team.
“I remember being three weeks behind in class at one point. I’m not the kind of person who skips out on work “he declares
For some individuals, the mental fog is more disruptive than the physical symptoms. You don’t recognize yourself, yet everyone else thinks you’re OK. I knew I’d be wiped out for the following two days, but I had plenty of nights with friends or family where I could revive for a few hours. It got too tough to read at my worst times since basic phrases didn’t make sense. I used to forget what I was writing in the midst of a sentence while I was writing.
I went through the motions of researching something for an article, writing it, refining it, and then realizing that I had previously done all of that many hours before. I have no recollection of writing the identical stuff before. I learnt to accomplish things using plans and checklists instead of relying on my thoughts for 30 years. To ensure that my work was clean, I had to rely significantly on colleagues.
In discussion, I was prone to losing my train of thought in the middle of a phrase, leading to concerns that I was being theatrical. When I was watching TV, there were moments when my thoughts couldn’t keep up with the speech and I had to stop. I got lost driving near my house twice and had to utilize Waze to find my way back.
And on a number of occasions, I reached that wall and had to leave the dinner table, while my family looked on, knowing I didn’t want the attention. I’d spend the remainder of the night in bed.
Most of the time, I felt as if I was being possessed by someone nastier and more irritated than I was. With the crazy, vivid nightmares I experienced every morning, my inability to smell or taste, the odd things I found myself saying, the phrases I couldn’t come up with, the loss of interest for long-time passions, and the difficulties of small conversation, the cuts to my sense of self were relentless. For months, I’ve been going through the motions of the day and thinking, “This simply isn’t me.”
When I told Foster about it, he nodded and said, “Exactly.”
My lowest moment may have been during a weekend in November spent in Washington, D.C., seeing my daughter, which was the most active two days I’d had in months. When I came home that Monday night, I read an article about Tony La Russa’s DUI written by my colleague Jeff Passan. Something about it seemed slightly familiar, and it occurred to me that Jeff and I had talked three days before. I phoned him and told him straight out. “I need to know whether I messed up anything. Was there anything specific you wanted me to do?”
“In fact,” he said, “there was.”
It turned out to be little, and Jeff handled it well, but I had no recollection of the discussion. It felt as though I had been informed of a drunken blackout. Then it occurred to me that I had no way of knowing how many times this had occurred in the preceding eight months.
I felt like a writer who couldn’t write, a reader who couldn’t read, a runner who couldn’t go for a stroll, and a parent and husband who went to sleep every night in his own mind. In every aspect that I could quantify, it was less. “Useless,” I kept saying to myself.
Justin Foster’s quest for answers led him to Duke University’s post-COVID-19 clinic, one of many that had sprung up to examine long-haul drivers during the epidemic. ESPN’s Phyllis B. Dooney
THE FIRST TIME Foster heard the phrase “long haul” was from head trainer Poole in August 2020. Foster then traveled to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where a doctor finally told him that his problems were most likely caused by his COVID-19 infection and that they were genuine. No one knew why his asthma episodes had grown so severe, or when or if he would get better. But simply hearing the words “long haul” brought a sigh of relief.
“The first time I realized I could relax was when someone told me I wasn’t insane and that there was really something going on,” he adds. “I knew there was something wrong with me that was making me behave this way.”
I was sure I’d gone into a hole of sloth that I couldn’t get out of for the first two months after I’d been ill, and I questioned whether I’d even had COVID at all. You couldn’t obtain a test unless you were hospitalized in the early days of the epidemic in North Jersey. I considered the possibility that I was hallucinating.
I eventually brought my kids to undergo antibody testing, and even as the nurse drew blood from my arm, I felt like I was on the verge of being revealed as a liar. The call came a few days later, and someone read the findings to me. Michael Quinn is… pessimistic. Liam Quinn is… pessimistic. Quinn, Thomas…
My heart was beating so hard that my shirt was shifting while I waited for my results. She said, “Positive.”
The euphoria that washed over me felt like anesthesia. I started crying. I wasn’t insane. I had no clue what would happen, but for the time being, knowing it was all true was enough. I pinned a copy of the test result on the wall next to my desk when she emailed it to me.
Foster had aspirations of recovering when the 2020 football season started, despite the fact that he was battling a disease rather than his own mind. But nothing changed week after week, and his evenings were terrifying lessons.
“There were many evenings when I would lie down and suffocate in my sleep. And I would wake up in the middle of the night, gasping for air “he declares “That’s when I was at my lowest because I had no idea what was going to happen, whether I was going to fall asleep one day and not wake up the next.”
Foster and Swinney decided midway through the season that he needed to concentrate on his health. There was always the next year. Foster attended workouts and home games but did not dress, spoke up when the defensive line gathered, maybe revealing a technique that would be effective against an offensive lineman.
“He’d be right there at practice, even in games, pretty much just coaching us up,” Murphy adds.
When the defense was on the field, Foster chose a position on the sideline where he was unlikely to run into teammates who had tripped over the line. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to get out of the way quickly enough if anything happened, and I didn’t want to make a fuss,” he adds.
But he claims that not being able to play was killing him, and that he didn’t know whether he’d be able to play again. The realization started to dawn on him that he would have to retire from football entirely in order to move on psychologically and emotionally to the next stage of his life. After football, he wanted to be anything he wanted to be. His career was bound to come to an end at some point; maybe this was it.
He claims he made the choice in December but waited two months to make it public. “I couldn’t bring myself to do it,” he recalls, “simply because of all the effort I’d put in.”
Foster went to the Clemson football facilities on Feb. 24 this year and waited outside Swinney’s office for 90 minutes until the coach was free. Foster advised him to take a break from football. Swinney said he understood and assured Foster that if he wanted to return, he would have a spot on the team.
Foster announced it to the rest of the world on social media the next day.
He added, “Today is a tough day for me, but it’s also a day of contemplation and appreciation.” “With sorrow but no regret, I have chosen to call it a career and retire from football.”
Foster informed me about his dissatisfaction a week later.
“When I went to the doctor, I would ask, ‘You people say you don’t see anything; you guys claim things are getting better.’” I’m not feeling any better. Is this the start of a new life for me? Is this the rest of my life?’ And if it is, please inform me. And I’ll be OK with it; I’ll just have to accept it.
“I don’t want to get my hopes up and keep expecting and praying that everything would return to normal.”
We were going through something similar to accelerated aging, jumping beyond what we thought were our prime years. You had to resist the temptation to think about what you’d lost and if you’d ever be able to get it back. You had to learn that patience and acceptance were not just strengths, but often the only ones you had left. This is what I’m capable of doing today. Let’s see what occurs the next day.
Long-haul Justin Foster’s whole football career was jeopardized by COVID-19. ESPN’s Phyllis B. Dooney
THE DAY AFTER Foster announced his retirement, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States, launched a new government effort to research long-haul COVID and gave the illness a name: Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2.
By that time, a number of well-known hospitals had established post-COVID clinics to treat patients as well as collect data. Foster went to one at Duke, and I went to one at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, which required a five-month appointment.
I saw a “functional medicine” doctor, who explained that the aim was to reduce my body’s inflammation so that my autonomic nervous system could return to normal. Although not all specialists think the neurological system is involved, I was told to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, take a variety of supplements to strengthen my immune system and reduce inflammation, wear compression gear to improve circulation, and get plenty of rest when I needed it. I’m not sure whether any of it has helped, but I do it anyhow.
I was in obnoxiously excellent health before to COVID. But, like many long-haul drivers, my blood pressure and cholesterol skyrocketed when I became ill.
A cardiologist visit is part of the Mt. Sinai program, and on the day I visited her in March, my blood pressure was 155/110, which is a concerning figure. “I believe I detect a murmur,” she remarked as she listened to my chest. I hadn’t experienced any cardiac symptoms.
An echocardiography confirmed her suspicions. My heart’s aortic valve was slightly dilated, enabling some blood to return to the chamber. The good news is that the disease is minor and easily treatable. It’s conceivable it’d been there for a long time yet remained undetected. But, she added, it’s conceivable that the high blood pressure I’d had for a year at the time caused it to dilate. Whatever happened, I needed to get my blood pressure under control, and I’ll have to keep it under control for the rest of my life to avoid more severe complications.
When Foster initially visited Duke’s clinic, the emphasis was mostly on his lungs. Dr. Loretta Que, his pulmonologist at the time, claimed he was only utilizing 49 percent of his lung capacity during one test. She and the rest of the staff placed him on a new drug regimen.
“He rarely ever had to use an inhaler before to COVID, and now he’s on a chronic medicine,” she adds. “I can’t say if he’ll be able to go off of them in the future, but that’s something we’ll have to look at.”
IN EARLY 2021, THERE WAS A GLANCE OF HOPE FOR BOTH OF US. Long-haulers throughout the nation were reporting remarkable recoveries after being vaccinated, but the effects were anecdotal at first. As information became available, Columbia’s Griffin estimated that 40 percent of long-haul drivers were experiencing an improvement.
I had my first shot in March and saw no change. Foster received his a few weeks later. I contacted him as I was about to receive my second injection to check how he was doing. “1.5 mile jog this morning,” he replied.
The day following my second injection, I awoke feeling worse than I’d ever felt in my life. After two days, the worst of it passed, and over the following two weeks, I discovered I was feeling worse overall than I had before the injection.
Foster, on the other hand, had undergone a transformation. Perhaps it was the vaccination, or perhaps it was the improvement he’d made since switching medicines. Perhaps it was just the passing of time. But, all of a sudden, a return looked feasible.
He started to exert more pressure on himself. His runs became a bit longer, and he began to lift weights once again. He returned to Duke in April and received more positive news. The lung output has increased from 49 percent to 102 percent. Dr. Que gave him a new inhaler and told him he was ready to try again.
“What did I have to lose, she was saying? ‘You go back, you try again, and if you can’t play, you simply can’t play,’ she says. ‘It’s not a terrible choice,’ I thought “he declares
Foster’s phone rang as he walked out of the appointment. Swinney was calling to see how he was doing. Foster says that’s when he realized he was ready to attempt, though he didn’t say so during the phone conversation. He wanted to be certain, so he took his time.
He phoned Swinney a few days later. He said that he was prepared. Swinney beamingly informed Foster that he could go at his own speed and that it was OK if he just played 10 plays each game. Foster was given a spot on the team.
He began by performing half-speed exercises and gradually increased his pace until he was able to finish full workouts. He needs to take lengthy naps after he accomplishes certain tasks, but he is able to complete them. During a run, he adds, his throat will start to shut up, but he always has his inhaler on hand and knows how to stop if necessary.
“You break it down into virtually every hour of the day: “This is what I’m doing right now,” “This is what I’m doing in an hour,” and so on. It alleviates a lot of the mental strain “he declares “When you look at objectives that are a year away and compare them to your current position, it causes a lot of mental tension.”
He declares that he is ready to play, and his coach readily agrees. Swinney declares, “He’s back.”
Foster, on the other hand, is still a long-haul driver, with little sense of smell, periodic shortness of breath or chest aches, and a proclivity for brain fog when fatigued. He has had severe responses to any insect bites since COVID-19. He became lightheaded and his throat began to shut during practice last week. To halt it, he used an EpiPen, which he’d been carrying since a pre-COVID reaction to bees. Foster chalks it up to “the new normal” after he and the medical personnel couldn’t figure out whether it was caused by food or a bug bite.
“I remain optimistic even when I have difficulties,” he adds. “It might be worse: I may not be able to play. I might be in a lot more trouble than I am, but I’m getting better.”
He still has a whole season ahead of him, as well as a chance to play in the NFL.
He adds, “It’s almost like it’s not real.” “Most of the time, you only get one shot, one opportunity, and once it’s done, it’s done,” she says.
Foster will hit the field with his teammates against the University of Georgia on Saturday night, 436 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Justin Foster will return to collegiate football in 2021, with his eyes set on the NFL. David J. Phillip/AP Photo
I WAS OUT OF OPTIONS IN THE MIDDLE OF JULY. I didn’t know what else to attempt since the vaccination hadn’t worked. I recalled having a methylprednisolone prescription from a doctor nine months before, but I hadn’t taken it for whatever reason. I decided to give it a go, believing that another attack on my body’s inflammation couldn’t harm.
My cardiologist felt that it was worth a shot after a short discussion. I started the six-day steroid pack, and I experienced a migraine every day for the following six days. Something had changed by the time it was finished.
I went to North Carolina for the first time to see Foster in person. The journey from New Jersey should have been enough to knock me unconscious for a few days. It didn’t work out. In the evenings, I still hit the wall, but it was later and not as severe. Perhaps it was the methylprednisolone, perhaps it was the vitamins, perhaps it was the meditation or acupuncture, perhaps it was just the passage of time. I went for a run the Saturday after I met Foster in person.
I contacted him on July 19 to tell him I had finished my sixth run in eight days. They were sluggish, short, and unattractive, and I was tired and hurting at night, but I persisted. “That’s what’s up,” he said.
Let go of expectations is a chapter from the same book he did. Now is the time to do what you can. Don’t get too carried away. Repeat for a quarter mile walk, a quarter mile run, and a quarter mile walk until you can do more. Continue on.
When I told my cardiologist the news, she was overjoyed. “I believe I’m more ecstatic than you,” she said. I explained that I was simply trying to stay on a level keel after 16 months of hope and disappointment.
“You’re going to make it,” she assured him. “It may take another year for you to get there, but you’ll get there.”
“One more year” seems like early parole a year and a half after the long haul started, after wondering whether this is what the rest of my life would be like. There are no assurances. I still have days when I feel as if I’m in hell, and I’m not sure what to do with them. But I check my blood pressure every day, take my vitamins, eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise when I can, and I’m about to start another round of steroids.
I completed this tale today. I’ll do something different tomorrow. I’ll be watching Justin on Saturday. Then we’ll both wait and see what happens next.
Damien Esparza, an ESPN feature producer, and John Mastroberardino, a researcher, contributed to this story.