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Coronavirus Victims: A Former High School Football Player Teddy Nelson

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

At the end of March a man in West Virginia named Teddy Nelson posted this message on Facebook.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Prayers, please - all I want is to feel better.

THOMAS HUNTER: He had messaged me, and he let me know that he got tested with double pneumonia. And I told him I hoped that he got better and that I loved him.

KELLY: That's Thomas Hunter, Nelson's friend. That was their final conversation.

CHANG: Soon after, Nelson died of complications from COVID-19 at age 25.

KELLY: Teddy Nelson worked as a welder at a mine equipment company. He loved football, too. He'd played it in high school, and a buddy, Logan Adkins, remembers Nelson worked hard on the field.

LOGAN ADKINS: He was one of our best linemen his senior year. He lead us to a great record, him and his teammates. He was just an all-around leader on and off the football field.

CHANG: In 2015, when the Adkins family business burned down, Nelson stayed at the site all night long to safeguard what was left.

ADKINS: Here in our hometown and even around the surrounding areas, everybody knew who Teddy Nelson was just because of the impact he made on someone's life when they met him or the actions that he had around them.

KELLY: Nelson's coach in high school, Gary Mullins, agreed.

GARY MULLINS: Anybody that come in contact with him is better for knowing him. Just can't wait to see him when I get to heaven. That'd be a good day to see him again.

CHANG: Teddy Nelson of Logan, W.V., died of COVID-19 on April 11. He was 25.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ KOZE'S "CHIMINEA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.