Karl Darlow opens up on his 'horrible' Covid-19 battle as he reveals potential Newcastle United return date
Karl Darlow is eyeing a Newcastle United return in September after revealing the extent of his “horrible” battle with Covid-19.
The Northampton-born goalkeeper believes he contracted the virus at England’s Euro 2020 final with Italy, which took place at Wembley at the beginning of pre-season.
Darlow was unable to swallow any food or drink, describing the pain as “worse than razor blades”.
He said: “It was like someone had just shut my throat off. Like someone had jammed something down my throat so I couldn’t do anything.
“I was so sore. It felt like I was suffocating. It was horrible. In and around my chest it was getting tighter. The longer it went on the more I started to think, ‘I really need some help.’”
After struggling at home on his own, Darlow admitted himself to Cramlington hospital – spending five days there.
It was on day three where Darlow could swallow again. In total, he lost five kilograms in weight and says he could feel the muscles disappearing from his arms.
Darlow was over the worst when he returned home, but his fight with Covid-19 was far from over.
“I had everything: diarrhoea, fevers, headaches, the obvious, the lethargy,” he said.
"I couldn’t be bothered to do anything. Being in the house on my own was tough because I still felt like I needed to eat and drink and I ended up losing weight.”
Thankfully, Darlow is now back training at club’s Benton HQ but is unlikely to return until next month as Freddie Woodman deputises in between the sticks.
He revealed: “I’ve been in the gym and smashing that for two or three weeks trying to get muscle back on. It hasn’t been easy losing a stone and three or four kilos of muscle. I am doing triple sessions to try to get back out there.
“Last week the gaffer said, ‘You’re starting to look back to yourself.’ I feel 90 per cent now.
"I still need to train with the team and I’ve been doing goalkeeping sessions at high intensity. I feel fine with my breathing and I’m drinking protein shakes like there’s no tomorrow.
“I hope to return after the international break. That is my aim. Get to there so I can have a couple of weeks and see where I am at.”
Darlow has followed in head coach Steve Bruce’s footsteps of encouraging people to get their vaccinations – and hopes his story goes a long way in doing that.
Speaking to The Times, Darlow added: “From what I have been through and what I have described to you, if you have no reason not to get it then I would definitely recommend you get in and get sorted.
“I know how fit I am and how hard I work every day. If you are of that mindset and that’s why you’re not going to get a jab, I’m the prime example of why you should go and get it.
“The severity is what hit home for me and what it can do to young, fit, healthy athletes that train their body every day. If it can have that effect on me, and if you’re not quite as healthy, it might be worse for you."