ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — A day after announcing he had been diagnosed with COVID-19, Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller spoke about the severity of the disease.
“It’s super serious,” Miller told DenverBroncos.com’s Phil Milani on Friday. “… I try to keep my body in tip-top shape. I try to be Superman. I try to make things happen. I try to stay up on my health. I know if I can get it, then I know that anybody can get it. I want people to really take it seriously.”
Miller, who had been sheltering in place at his home in Denver, had a cough that worsened and was encouraged to seek treatment from Broncos team physician Dr. Steven Geraghty. Miller has asthma, and when he tried to use a nebulizer to assist with his breathing, it did not provide the typical relief.
After evaluating Miller’s symptoms, Geraghty deemed it necessary for Miller to undergo a COVID-19 test.
Geraghty called Miller two days after the test to inform him about the positive diagnosis.
President Football Operations/GM John Elway and Head Coach Vic Fangio were all informed of Miller’s diagnosis, as was President/CEO Joe Ellis.
“Just me in general, just the type of guy that I am, I always try to make fun about anything,” Miller said. “When I found out that I had it, I can’t even lie. I was shocked. I was nervous. I wanted to call my mom and call my dad and let everybody know. But at the same time I wanted to let them know I was fine and I was OK. I still wanted to show people I was in good spirits.”
Miller said he has only left home about four times over the past four weeks, each time not leaving his car. Still, Miller was exposed to the virus.
“There’s no way to find out where this came from,” Miller said. “I’m at peace knowing that I took it seriously and we were doing everything that we could possibly do.
“… I mean, you just have to totally cut everybody off, whether that be the maids, chef — you have to totally take this seriously. … We’ve got to clean up the house. Anything that we might’ve touched, we’ve got to really just get after it now. I took it serious before — it’s just in overdrive now.”
Miller said he followed proper protocols and procedures to inform those who may have been in or around his house over the last several weeks.
Miller is the only known member of the Broncos’ organization to test positive for COVID-19 and is only the second active NFL player to test positive.
He said Friday he was “was feeling better” and that he is “not hurting or anything like that.”
Since his diagnosis, Miller said he has heard from a slew of people looking to check in on him.
“I talked to Coach Fangio,” Miller said. “I talked to Coach ‘Kub’ [former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak]. I talked to Peyton [Manning]. I talked to Ric Flair. That was crazy, with this virus being so unfortunate, to have everybody hitting me up. It really did lift my spirits. I wasn’t expecting to hear from anybody. But to hear from all the people I did, it sure does feel good to hear from coaches, teammates, celebrities, family members, my mom, my dad. It definitely feels good, and it definitely lifts my spirits.”
Miller said he will now aim to keep a positive attitude as he completes a 14-day quarantine and continues to recover from the illness.
“It was crazy, man,” Miller said. “It’s like, ‘Man, me? Von? Come on!’ But that’s like the story of my life. I knew I took it seriously. It’s so easy to ask, ‘Why me?’ If you ask, ‘Why me?’ in an unfortunate situation like this, I’ve got to ask, ‘Why did we win the Super Bowl? Why was I Super Bowl MVP?’ Or, ‘Why do I have great coaches? Why do I have great teammates?’ You’ve got to ask why for all of that stuff. So, I just try to stay positive. I just try to keep my mind silent and just do my time. I was already doing my time before, but now I’ve just got 14 days to count off to get healthy and get back at it.”
Miller, though, wanted to make sure to make his diagnosis public to stress the severity of the situation. And while he knows he’s lucky to receive access to high-quality medical care, he is also aware that not everyone has those same privileges.
“When the coronavirus stuff was going around, I just wanted to stay out of the way,” Miller said. “I just wanted to stay down, just do my time, social distancing like everybody else. I had the opportunity to do videos. I donated some money to causes. I was really just trying to stay out of the way. I was trying to stay at home [as much as] possible and do my time and just get through it. I’m sitting at home and I get the coronavirus. It just struck me, like, ‘If I can get it, I feel like people should know,’ because if they realize that I have it, then they’ll start to take it more seriously. And I was already taking it seriously.
“I can only imagine people being in different situations. I had Dr. Geraghty right now the street. I had the Broncos. I had somebody to go and get groceries. I had people check in on me. … For somebody else, it would be totally different. They don’t even have enough tests to go around and test everybody, so it’s definitely a scary situation. I know if I’m feeling like this and I have all these people around me to help me get through it, [there are] other people in different situations that it’s totally different.”