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‘We are all touched by it:’ Former WLUK sports director reflects on ICU stay due to COVID-19

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GREEN BAY -- After spending a quarter century on television, a former sportscaster is recovering from the coronavirus, and sharing a positive message after a frightening ordeal.

"Hi everybody -- Andrew Smith coming at you from the intensive care unit at Via Christ in Manhattan," said Drew Smith, former sports director at FOX11 WLUK in Green Bay, in a video shared to social media.

On Tuesday, April 7, Smith had been out of the ICU for two weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus. He thinks he contracted it while leading a group of Kansas State students in London.

Smith, who used to talk about Green Bay Packers' wins as the sports director for FOX 11 in Green Bay is now talking about his own victory over COVID-19.

"I had the high fevers, and hallucinations, and all those that you kind of read about," said Smith. "I ended back up in the hospital, in the ICU, as the very first patient in this area, which meant that none of the hospital staff had ever seen it before. Nobody had treated this before, and I always think that there is a lot of anxiety, and there is fear of the unknown because it is such an unknown disease. You read the bad things, and you don't read a lot of the success stories. I was in the hospital for five days, and never turned on the television. For somebody who worked in TV for 25 years, that's kind of a strange thing, but I just couldn't concentrate. I have now cleared the virus, which means now that my body is just able to start repairing itself, and hopefully I am now full of antibodies and immunity."

Drew Smith

Smith, who now teaches communications at Kansas State University, was quick to point to his medical care and the support of family and friends for helping him get better. He said he couldn't have done it alone, and really, no one can right now.

"We are a very individualistic society here in the United States," said Smith. "We are taught that from very young -- stand up, pull your boot straps up, always stand up for yourself, et cetera et cetera, but these are times that we need to reach out and say, hey, I need help. We need help, and we need to be collectivists, in that regard."

As a communicator and educator, he understands cause and effect.

"I was talking with my 15-year-old daughter this week," said Smith. "They said this is kind of their, she is like, 'This is our 9/11, isn't it?' And I said, 'Well kind of is.' They don't remember that, but this is a huge global issue that is changing life as we know it."

Drew Smith

"So we are all touched by it," said Smith. "We all have a role to play, and hopefully, we get through this, and then, we keep looking at our community and saying, 'What can I do now?' Be aware. Be aware of who you are, where you are, how you can be of service to those around you, and sometimes, right now, service is staying at home, making sure that nobody gets sick. Be that person who others can turn around and rely on when things aren't going well. We are all in this together. We are all running through this, even when there is no pandemic. We're all still in this together, and that is going to be important, too. It's important that we all look out for each other -- that we are kind to each other."

Smith's sportscasts used to end with a commercial break. His classes end with a bell.

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