New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton became the first prominent NFL figure to , and just over a month later and using that experience to help his community. This past Monday, Payton donated convalescent plasma – the liquid part of coronavirus patients' blood, according to the FDA – to the Blood Center in New Orleans to help new patients fight the disease.
"I was able to go in the other day and donate blood," Payton told ESPN. "It's a process that takes about 45 minutes, 50 minutes. And they hook you up to what is a machine that's basically drawing blood and then returning blood and gradually extracting plasma from your blood. When you're finished, there's enough plasma to treat three or four patients that have it in a much more serious way."
Payton's donation comes at a critical time. When he was diagnosed March 19, only 392 Louisianans had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Times-Picayune. That number has skyrocketed to more than 26,000 as of Saturday. In the NFL, Denver Broncos linebacker and Los Angeles Rams center have also tested positive.
If someone who recovered the coronavirus seeks to donate plasma like Payton did, they need to show no symptoms for at least 28 days – or 14 symptom-free days with an in-lab negative test – and be eligible to donate blood, according to the FDA. The FDA website says plasma contains antibodies that "might help" current victims.
"I feel like…I was fortunate," said Payton, who led the Saints to a Super Bowl XLIV victory. "I didn't have any of the respiratory issues, and I'm far enough along now – three weeks removed from any type of symptoms – where, yeah, I'm doing really well."
People suffering from the virus now are certainly fortunate Payton and others like him are giving back after they recover.