By: Joe Zydlo
The Kelly name is synonymous in the world of professional hockey. John Kelly followed in his father Dan’s footsteps and has been broadcasting hockey for over 30 years. The last 16 years, Kelly has been with the St. Louis Blues, where his father worked starting in the team’s second season in 1968-69 on his way to a Hall of Fame broadcasting career.
On March 11, John started feeling under the weather after the Blues returned home from a brief road trip in Anaheim, Ca. The defending Stanley Cup Champions were poised to make another long run in defense of their title when COVID-19 brought the entire sports world, and most of our country, to a halt. Little did John know that COVID-19 would bring his life to a temporary halt just a few days later.
“As soon as we got back from Anaheim, I went to an Urgent Care to get a chest X-ray and I was diagnosed with pneumonia,” said Kelly. “The doctors also wanted to test for COVID-19 as well, but they did not think I had it. On March 27, I tested positive for COVID-19.”
The pneumonia, combined with COVID-19, packed a punch that had John down and out.
“I was really sick for a week and barely got out of bed,” said Kelly. “Because of my diagnosis, my wife and three children all remained quarantined for three weeks. It (COVID-19) impacted me and my family by realizing how serious it can affect someone.”
After a few weeks, John started to turn the corner and felt better. With the NHL and all professional sports on hold, he found a way he could help by donating his plasma.
“We have a friend at Washington University who told me about a study they were doing on how to help COVID-19 patients recover,” said Kelly. “I felt that if I could help someone recover by donating my plasma, that would be awesome.”
Once Kelly was full recovered and met all eligibility requirements, he made his appointment at a St. Louis-area Red Cross Donation Center. From there it took about an hour of his time to donate his plasma.
“The process of filling out my form, getting confirmed and giving my donation was simple and painless,” said Kelly. “My advice to people who are going to donate would be to follow the recommendations before your donation. I hydrated for 24 hours and ate a full meal beforehand. I experienced no side effects or pain during or after the procedure.”
John is used to delivering play-by-play calls of Blues goalie Jordan Binnington making a game-saving stop and keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. This time he delivered a lifesaving call by rolling up a sleeve and donating his plasma to help someone in his community, and that is something that is very rewarding.
“If you are considering donating your plasma to help COVID-19 patients I would highly encourage it,” said Kelly. “It’s a completely painless and simple process and it gives you satisfaction that you may have helped someone recover, or perhaps saved a life.”
Yet another great call from John Kelly.