Former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque returned home Tuesday after spending the weekend at the hospital recovering from the coronavirus. Laraque announced his diagnosis of the respiratory disease on Thursday via Twitter. He played in the league for 13 seasons, spending the majority of them with the Edmonton Oilers.
Because the 43-year-old Laraque has asthma, as he points out in his post, he may be at higher risk of getting very sick from the global pandemic as COVID-19 can trigger an asthma attack, and even cause pneumonia as well as acute respiratory disease.
Bon je ne suis pas invincible, je viens tout juste d’être diagnostiqué avec le Covid, pas la meilleure nouvelle étant donné que je suis asthmatique, ca va aller! I guess I’m not invincible, just got diagnosed with Covid, since I’m asthmatic, not the best news, will fight it off! pic.twitter.com/KIgo8Ra0sT— Georges Laraque (@GeorgesLaraque) April 30, 2020
Because of his breathing condition, the experience of recovering turned out to be quite difficult. He described his hospital stay to TSN on Tuesday.
"I was really struggling but just the fact that since yesterday I didn't need extra oxygen to breathe it was really encouraging because you know, gasping for air is one of the worst feelings when you can't breathe," Laraque said.
"So I'm in a room [in the hospital] with three people, all infected, sitting there not knowing what's going to happen. And just plugged to oxygen and waiting for my lungs to get better. I knew my life was not in danger, but still."
The Montreal native left Edmonton to play for the Phoenix Coyotes after the Oilers refused to grant him his request of a long-term contract with a no-trade clause. He was in Phoenix for all of 56 games before getting shipped off to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he'd play until 2008. He also had a stop with the Montreal Canadiens before retiring from the sport in 2010. At the end of his career, he totaled 695 games, scoring 53 goals and earning 100 assists.
To end on a positive note, here is a short, two-hour compilation of the fights Laraque got into on the ice throughout his playing career.