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Former University of Alabama football player battles COVID, encourages others to get vaccinated

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 8:12 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A former University of Alabama football player was in the fight of his life battling COVID-19.

He spent nearly 80 days in the hospital and about half of that time was spent on a ventilator.

Now, he and his wife want to be a testimony for others who may still be hesitant to get the COVID vaccine.

Like many Alabamians, Justin and Mel Moon were on the fence about getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

The 36-year-old former football player had no underlying health conditions and was in no rush to get the vaccine.

“We was unsure. You listen to…you try to stay in the middle ground and listen to both sides of politics. So, you kind of have to cipher through and figure out what…you know…what portions of it you believe and what portions of it you don’t,” Justin said.

But eventually the Moons decided the vaccine was right for them and made appointments to roll up their sleeves.

But about 10 days prior to the date, Justin developed a headache and cough, and it didn’t take long for him to realize it was something serious.

“We have one of those little O2 meters that you wear on your finger, and I woke up one morning, short of breath, put that thing on, and it said 82 and it’s supposed to be 90 or above at the minimum. So, I guess that kind of freaked me out a little bit,” Justin said.

Justin’s symptoms escalated quickly.

He was admitted to the hospital on July 21st…and would spend the next 79 days at UAB Hospital; 39 of those days spent on a ventilator.

Justin had liver and heart problems and doctors had to revive him three times.

“And then the bottom of his lungs started to crystalize, and they said that it wasn’t accepting oxygen anymore. So, we had a brief…probably a full week where we didn’t think he was gonna make it, and on a Wednesday, they called and told my daughter that they needed to mentally prepare me to come and tell him goodbye by Friday,” Mel explained.

The Moons said it’s a miracle Justin is alive.

They said the vaccine is the answer to prevent other families from enduring the suffering they’ve experienced asking people to pray and consider the science.

“Hopefully, someone will look at me and what I went through…what we went through… and take that to heart,” Justin said.

“Think about putting someone in your family through what I went through. If you don’t feel like you should do it for yourself, please do it for all of the people that you love,” Mel said.

The road to recovery has not been easy for Justin.

He’s had to relearn how to walk and talk and still doesn’t have full feeling in one of his arms.

The Moons said their story has inspired more than 250 people to get vaccinated and hope more people will do the same.

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