Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed he tested positive for coronavirus in April – the second Premier League manager after Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta confirmed to have contracted the disease.
Rodgers, 47, started to feel unwell two weeks after the final game before the competition was suspended, his team’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa on March 9, and lost his sense of taste and smell, as well as suffering acute shortness of breath.
The former Liverpool boss, who said his wife Charlotte had also had the virus, continues to be tested twice a week along with Leicester’s players and staff – part of Project Restart protocol designed to ensure the Premier League can resume on June 17.
Speaking about his experience, Rodgers said: “The strangest thing was the smell and the taste,” he said.
“You’re eating your dinner and you could not smell or taste anything. That was the biggest thing.
“Then you lose your strength. You could hardly walk 10 yards in front of you without really blowing. I felt it was similar to when I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2011. When you get to a certain altitude, you walk and you really suffer in your breathing.
“You’re walking 10-20 yards and you thought, goodness me. The first time I tried to exercise I could hardly run 10 yards. It really did knock you but thankfully I was nowhere near as serious as a lot of people had it.
“The headache, it’s different. The headache I’d had, it felt really isolated on one side of your head. I thought: “If I don’t have it. I wonder what this is”, so that’s why we got the test.
“My wife started feeling effects about a week after me. We just knew we must have had it. We were lucky enough to be able to get a couple of tests, 21 days after I started to feel ill. When we had the tests done it detected we had the antibodies.”
Rodgers says he has now made a full recovery and has started taking regular exercise again. He relayed the information to his players as soon as the test result was confirmed.
On March 12, the day before the Premier League was halted in the light of Arteta’s positive tests, three Leicester players were in isolation after displaying flu-like symptoms. Leicester had been due to travel to Watford two days later.
Rodgers added: “I felt a duty to mention it in my chats with the players. We had lots of communication before we got together in person and it was something I mentioned to them.
“I’m still getting tested twice a week. This is still an area people are unsure of and you can’t take any risks with it. The training ground is very safe, we are tested on a Monday and a Thursday.”
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