Tom Dempsey, former NFL kicker who is in the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame, is currently receiving hospice care after testing positive for the coronavirus. Dempsey, 73, has been living in the Lambeth House Retirement Community in New Orleans since 2012 as he's also suffering from dementia. According to Nola.com, the assisted living facility has had 50 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with 13 deaths.
Dempsey tested positive for COVID-19 on March 26 after being sent to the hospital due to his symptoms. He then returned to his apartment and was given medication. Ashley Dempsey, Tom's daughter, told Nola.com: "We thought we were out of the woods with the no fever," she said. "It was wishful thinking."
Tom didn't have a fever when he left the hospital, but his oxygen levels dropped Wednesday morning. It led to the family getting him hospice care. Dempsey's oxygen levels have improved, the family is hoping to get him off of hospice care soon.
Dempsey, who was born without toes on his right foot and fingers on his right hand, joined the Saints in 1969, and he was named to the All-Pro Team after kicking a 63-yard field goal, an NFL record at the time. He was cut by the Saints in 1971 after making just one of eight preseason field goals. Along with his time with the Saints, Dempsey has also spent time the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers, and Buffalo Bills. He ended his NFL career with a 61.6 field goal percentage.
Dempsey is not the only notable Saints figure to deal with coronavirus. Last month, head coach Sean Payton revealed he was diagnosed with COVID-19. The good news is he was cleared by doctors last week, but he warns people coronavirus is as serious as it gets.
"The thing that's troubling is, it's so contagious that it's going to find the people that aren't healthy enough to defend themselves against it," he said. "You and I talked about your father, our parents, our aunts and uncles, those people – anybody with comorbidities that has an existing or preexisting condition. And you don't have to be in your 80s to have one of those... Anybody that has preexisting conditions becomes a greater risk, obviously. And we've seen younger people. "The reason it applies to everybody is because everybody can get it."