WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WWBT)- His voice is synonymous with Tribe athletics. Jay Colley has been on the mic for William and Mary since 1982, calling football and basketball games. His most recent call was the 2020 CAA Tournament in Washington, DC.
It was about a week after that on March 17 when Colley began feeling stuffy and congested. He dismissed it as being caused by pollen, but the next day he developed a cough. It was that Thursday when he knew things weren't right.
“Thursday morning it hit me like a ton of bricks,” Colley recalls. “Hardbody aches, a headache, and then my daughter is a nurse so she said ‘hey, you need to go to the doctor.’”
Jay saw his doctor, who tested him for COVID-19, at one point ended up in the emergency room, and later was transported to the hospital. It was there doctors confirmed what he already knew- he had coronavirus. He remembered how the days were OK, but it was the nights when things seemed to get worse.
"Teeth chattering, bones knocking because you're so cold, and yet you have a temperature of 103.5," he said. "I was never on a ventilator so I was very fortunate and blessed."
In total, it was 11 days to get over the hump, which included a four day and three-night stay in the hospital.
"You couldn't really communicate with the outside world," Colley said. "I could call my wife, and we did a lot of texting among friends and family members, but it's not like they could come in and hold your hand."
With that in mind, Jay began keeping a diary throughout the process. He included messages to family members and friends in case things took a turn for the worst, even penning a eulogy that could potentially be read at his funeral.
"One of the things that even was coming out back then was that if you were to die, you probably are going to die alone. You probably are not going to be able to see your relatives, so I wanted to just put a little diary out there."
Fast forward, and Jay, who is 63 years old, is well down his road to recovery. He says he can complete about 75 percent of his day before feeling like he needs to slow down. Now he's eager to help others who are fighting the virus by donating his plasma, which he can do through the American Red Cross 30 days after the day he last experienced symptoms.
"I'm happy to do it and I can't wait," Colley said. "I saw some national news program that said one dose of plasma could help or maybe even save three to four people. What's wrong with that picture? I'm delighted and I can't wait for the call."
Jay will be back behind the microphone when things start back up. In the meantime, he hopes people can take two things from his story. First, the virus is very real, and second, it’s very survivable.
“I’ve got high hopes for this new drug and future drugs because the best and brightest minds in the universe are working on making everybody healthy so I have no question in my mind that that’s going to happen.”
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