Odessa triathlete in coma after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 10:19 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -

An Odessa triathlete is now in a coma after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

At first, when Jerry Tschauner started coughing up mucus he thought this was something he needed to sleep off at home.

But soon after it kept getting harder for him to breathe.

We spoke with his mother Penny Roberts who told us he had to be taken away by an ambulance when could no longer breathe.

Now he’s hooked up to a ventilator inside Medical Center Hospital with blood clots in his right leg and lungs.

“They call it pneumonia COVID--is what they call it in that perspective,” she said. “The bottom part of his lungs they couldn’t hear anything and on the top part they’re called wet and that’s where the pneumonia comes in.”

Tschauner came back from a trip toward the end of March where he had caught the strain of the coronavirus that was first found in Brazil, also known as P1.

Roberts said its shocking to see how quickly her son’s health deteriorated considering he’s only 39 years old and keeps his body in good health to compete in triathlons.

“Y’know everyone talks about overweight or heart defect there’s nothing,” she said. “Jerry was in picture perfect health. He was just injured in the military.”

We asked Dr. Rohith Saravanan at Odessa Regional Medical Center if the strain from Brazil poses any unique challenges.

He said the variants aren’t any more dangerous, but they are more transmissible.

However, the community shouldn’t be alarmed unless we start seeing a lot of new strain cases pop up in our area.

“It’s almost expected for us to see these kinds of strains,” he said. “What we need to be careful of is when we see more variant strains. Strains that spread more easily.”

For now, Tschauner’s family is trying to stay strong.

Roberts said at this point she doesn’t know if her son will survive the virus or what kind of damage he would have to deal with if he does but she’s praying he’ll wake soon.

“When you see your son there lifeless,” she said. “That this disease has taken over our world. One minute we’re here, the next minute we’re not. And to know if he can make it out of this we don’t know.”

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