CSU basketball coach recounts symptoms, recovery of his COVID-19 fight

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– He was one of the first cases of coronavirus in Northeast Ohio. Now, a local basketball coach is speaking about his battle against COVID-19.

“From the time I was diagnosed on March 11, this is going on five and a half weeks for me, it’s really been a struggle,” said Chris Kielsmeier, Cleveland State University’s women’s basketball coach.

Kielsmeier said it started on March 9 when he was in Indianapolis with his team playing in the conference semi-finals.

“That day, I was feeling great. I was a little run down from the year, but nothing unusual,” Kielsmeier said.

 But by the time they got home to Cleveland later that night, Kielsmeier started to go downhill.

 “The next day and night, I experienced some of the worst body aches and chills I’ve ever experienced. I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night and it was on me, immediately,” Kielsmeier said.

Kielsmeier is 44 and in good health. Doctors recommended he get tested for COVID-19 Wednesday. By Saturday, he got a positive result.

“I felt pretty good on day 3, 4, 5, 6. On 7, 8, 9, it took a turn. And then day 10 and 11 got rough,” Kielsmeier said.

 Day 12, he was coughing up blood. By day 13, he was at Hillcrest Hospital fighting for his life.

 “Those doctors and nurses that took care of me are incredible. Quite frankly, the story should be about them, not me. They helped bring me back out of this,” Kielsmeier said.

 Kieslmeier had just finished his second season with the Vikings. Those who had been in close contact with him were asked to self-quarantine.

“In Indianapolis, there were so many people with us. Players, staff, cheerleading, a whole staff of people there. To my knowledge, not one person, not even their families, has gotten it,” Kielsmeier said.

For that, he is thanking his doctors, nurses, friends, players, co-workers and even Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for support.

 “If you haven’t experienced this or don’t know someone who has experienced this, you might not take it so seriously. I don’t know what I would have thought if I didn’t experience this. But you have to take this seriously. And you have to go listen to what the experts are saying,” Kielsmeier said.

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