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Notre Dame Football

David Lacey Goes In-Depth on his Battle with Covid-19

May 13, 2020

David Lacey has a personality you can’t forget as it’s an outgoing one with Southern charm, but he won’t hesitate to crack a joke to lighten the mood. 

The Bowling Green (Ky.) native got knocked down a few weeks ago as he battled Covid-19. Lacey is now healthy and went on Notre Dame’s ‘The Fight’ on Tuesday to share his experience.

"I have my degree in Nursing, but I've worked in the medical field for 30 years,” Lacey told Jack Nolan on Tuesday night. “March 16th, I woke up and I knew I was sick. I had a headache. I never have a fever and I had a low-grade fever. It was only between a 99.8 to a 100.4 - not 104, but 100.4 I had the weird symptom of where if I touched my eyeballs they hurt and I had a dry hacking cough. 

"About three times a day, I would break up with a chill and my temperature would go up. I would take my Tylenol and had no problems for the first week.” 

Lacey, the father of Notre Dame sophomore defensive lineman Jacob Lacey, then lost his appetite the second week and started to self isolate himself from his family. 

“I wouldn't eat,” stated Lacey. “Anyone who knows me, I get my appetite the same way Jacob does. I'm an eater. I would just rest. The thing about this disease is it tricks you and it makes you lay down. When you lay down, you feel fine. When I would get up, I would have some respiratory issues and I would cough. I isolated myself in the basement for those two weeks.” 

Lacey knew he was in trouble on March 30th as he struggled to breathe when he tried to move. 

“I woke up and as soon as I sat up, I lost my breath,” Lacey recalled. “I knew my O2 saturation where the oxygen is in your blood was low. When I stood up, I got real dizzy. I took about three steps up the stairs and I felt like I ran a marathon. I couldn't breathe and I was weak. I tried to fake it again to get upstairs and I finally told my wife to go to the ER.” 

The trip to the ER was the third time for Lacey, but this time he was admitted. 

“The first two times, I wasn't sick enough and I understood that,” said Lacey. “They finally took me into the hospital and it was bad. The doctors looked at me, took a chest X-ray and did a CTA with dye. My inflammatory markers were ten times the norm and I couldn't breathe. My O2 saturation when I laid down was 98 percent, which is good. As soon as I sat up, it would drop into the low 80's and I couldn't stand up.

"When they looked at my X-ray, they said my lungs were inflamed and very white on the camera. It lit up like a Christmas tree. I was bad off and heading the wrong way." 

It got very serious for Lacey as he got worse and a doctor even advised him to get his family ready for his passing. 

"I already knew this is to appreciate life,” Lacey explained. “For me, my faith got me through. I don't know how anybody does it without God. My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, got me through when the doctor looked at me. When she looked at me and I said, 'Do I need to get things right at home?' She said if it wouldn't be a problem and I might want to talk to my family. 

"I had to call my brother and tell him to take care of my family. I called coach (Mike) Elston and I was broken down crying because the doctor said I could possibly die. I said I needed him to take care of Jacob and make sure he graduates from Notre Dame if things don't go the way I wanted them to go. And I called my pastor.”

Fast forward and Lacey was discharged and now home in good spirits. Some may think the virus is an overreaction, but Lacey would be the first to tell you how serious it really is. 

"This virus is real and it's not a republican or democratic problem,” stated Lacey. “It's not a black, white, rich, or poor. This virus does not discriminate or what party you're affiliated with. My biggest thing is I love my family and just remember life is about your family, friends and breathe. I can get a new house or a new car. I can't get another life. Life is good now." 

With Lacey in recovery mode and quarantine, it has provided a chance to spend more time with his family, even though he’s seen a certain bill quickly rise due to Jacob being home.

"In the middle of this darkness, the light is I've been getting time to spend time with my family,” Lacey stated. “I'm going to tease - the only thing I don't appreciate is I forgot how much he eats. My grocery bill is through the roof. I'll be glad when he gets back to campus, so they can feed him. 

"We've been playing UNO and he's been kicking my butt. He's been letting us know about that. He was glad to finish up classes on Wednesday and he's having a good time being at home."

The 6-foot-1, 293-pounder is also continuing to work hard despite the pandemic making it more difficult. 

"Jacob has always had that inside of him - nothing that I've taught him,” said Lacey. “It's God-given. He goes to an area here called D1 and they give him the key. He goes in there by himself or with George Fant, who plays for the New York Jets and they workout sometimes. 

"He works out every day. He eats clean and takes his smoothies 30 minutes after his workout and stretching with the bands. He comes in sweating and stinking every day, so he's doing it." 

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