Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow urges players to get vaccination after recovering from Covid

Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow is recovering from the after-effects of Covid-19 (Nick Potts/PA)

Newcastle United goalkeeper Karl Darlow has urged fellow footballers to make sure they are vaccinated against Covid-19 after he spent time in hospital suffered from the virus earlier this year.

The 30-year-old lost five kilograms in weight after spending three days on a drip in a hospital ward over the summer, and wants his colleagues to make sure they protect themselves and avoid the same suffering he went through.

A third of players in the English Football League have yet to receive a first vaccine dose, and Magpies manager Steve Bruce recently admitted that “a lot” of his players had turned the chance down.

Darlow became ill after attending the EURO 2020 final at Wembley and drove himself to hospital a few days later. He told the BBC’s The Sports Desk podcast: “I was severely worried. When it was at its worst…I didn’t want it to affect my breathing. I knew that if I could get in and get on a drip and get the food and water into myself, I’d be OK but there’s always a thing, in the back of your mind, that if it does get into your breathing, then you are in serious trouble.

“It was probably two or three weeks, even after I’d been diagnosed, that I was still going home sleeping in the afternoon for two, three hours and then after probably 9-10 hours at night.

“I had nearly every single symptom, I think. The hot and cold, diarrhoea, everything, it wasn’t nice. I don’t think Lucy, my partner, could believe just how gaunt I was in the face and how much weight I had lost.”

The former Nottingham Forest player said he had already convinced a couple of team-mates to receive the vaccine, and said: “I think seeing how I was probably convinced them to go and get it done. So it’s tough, because everyone who isn’t having it has their own reason, and sometimes it’s hard to convince or go into deep conversation with your team-mates about getting vaccinated if they have a very good reason, and you can’t force it upon people.

“I just thought it wouldn’t have that massive effect on me if I did catch it,” Darlow said.

“I think there are a lot of people that are thinking that way [but] there are numerous cases now that are younger people and unfortunately, people are not recovering and others are taking a substantial amount of time to come back.”

The Premier League will provide a video to its clubs next week in which the government’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam discusses myths and misinformation about the vaccine and urges players to be immunised against the disease.

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