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Former Kentucky Soccer Star Battling COVID-19 While Living in Finland

(Photo via

(Photo via

“If I don’t get to the hospital at all, I’ll probably die.”

A former Kentucky soccer star is still recovering from a positive case of the coronavirus that he says had him close to death. According to the Herald-Leader, Antti J. Peltonen, a one-time Wildcat soccer standout and current resident of Finland, was battling the virus for days before a trip to the emergency room saved his life.

In a piece by Ben Roberts, Peltonen describes his battle against the coronavirus, how it nearly took his life, and how the general population is not taking the situation as seriously as they should be.

According to the article, Peltonen is a regular world traveler but canceled several of his recent trips amid fears that the virus would infect him. He decided to remain at home in his native Finland, but he eventually began to develop coronavirus-like symptoms on March 14. Even though he took precautions before the country’s government began to mandate them, Peltonen still fell ill.

His plan was to stay inside and self-isolate until his symptoms had passed, but they only got worse. Eventually, the now 43-year old decided he should go to the hospital, where they initially sent him away because he did not display severe enough symptoms. Two days later, he was taken to the hospital via an ambulance as his condition worsened where he would finally be tested positive for the coronavirus. He was released from the hospital after five days on March 26.

“We had started the treatment and I was receiving antibiotics, too, for pneumonia, but it took more than 48 hours until the drugs and other medicine I received through IV started to work,” Peltonen said, according to Roberts. “I wasn’t panicking but (stayed) pretty calm. But I also knew, after educating myself a lot on COVID-19 at that point already, that if my condition didn’t soon get better, I’d die. It was all about if my body and lungs could fight the virus off. Uncertainty was stressful.”

Peltonen was named to the first-team All-MAC during the 2001 season where he also made the academic honor roll for both the SEC and MAC. He started in 16 of his 18 appearances that season, recording five assists and four goals.

His biggest takeaway from this story is to help everyone understand that no one is immune to the coronavirus. Even though he was born in 1977 and is generally healthy, the virus still put him near the edge of death. “Stay at home,” he adds.

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Covering all things NBA and UK Hoops. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR