Former minor league baseball player Dan Venezia described his battle with COVID-19, telling “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that while the virus took over his mind and body, he would not let it break his spirit.
Venezia, who is now a personal trainer, wrote a book on his experience with the novel coronavirus titled “Surviving COVID-19: How Faith, Focus, Fitness, and Hydroxychloroquine Saved Me.”
“Despite the ravages that COVID-19 wreaked on my body, my mind and my spirit, eventually my faith, my focus, and my fitness (with the help of hydroxychloroquine) saved me,” he wrote in the book.
Speaking on “Fox & Friends,” he explained that prayer helped him through the “rough ride” and said that he hopes his story “will inspire others to sort of embrace God and embrace their faith a little bit more.”
Venezia said he checked himself into the hospital on April 5, which was Palm Sunday, and said his priest’s words that day “were able to sustain me through the coming days.”
He explained his symptoms, which included shivering, chills and shortness of breath, and said that on Palm Sunday his “breathing went from bad to worse.”
“It felt like someone was sitting on my chest,” Venezia said.
He acknowledged that while he was in the hospital he realized it could be the end for him and he knew he needed to “get my mind in the right place and concentrate on what I could control.”
He said COVID-19 “clearly took over my body,” noting that he lost 25 pounds.
“It tried to take over my mind, taking me to a very dark place, questioning the existence of God and so forth, but the one thing I did not let it break was my spirit,” Venezia continued.
Venezia was discharged from the hospital in just four days, and host Steve Doocy asked him what he attributed his quick release to.
“I spent a lifetime as a personal trainer so I had the playbook there,” Venezia responded. “I knew I needed to work my muscles out, and I also had the playbook in regards to getting my mind right. And then the prayer.”
He went on to say that doctors gave him the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to help treat the novel coronavirus.
Venezia said before he took the drug he had a 103-degree fever for 11 consecutive days and Tylenol did not help him “at all.”
“Within 24 hours I took that [hydroxychloroquine] and my fever broke and it hasn’t been back since,” Venezia said. “So I’m not a doctor, I’m not a politician, I’m just a father. I’m a husband who desperately wanted to get home to his wife and to his two sons and there is no doubt that I think that that was a game-changer for me.”
In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked emergency authorization for the drug, which had been prescribed to treat the coronavirus. However, President Trump and others in the medical community have hailed it as a possible cure for COVID-19.
“I am so blessed to be here to share this story with the world,” Venezia told Doocy.
As of Thursday, nearly 8 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S. with 216,904 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Fox News’ Nick Givas contributed to this report.