'I could have died' San Diego pro lacrosse player sends warning after coronavirus scare

Posted at 5:16 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 21:02:55-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - Professional lacrosse player Jules Heningburg joined the San Diego Seals and played with the team until the season was cut short due to coronavirus. The athlete said his aunt works for the CDC, so he’s taken the virus seriously since the beginning.

“I was following the rules there, I was wearing a mask, socially distancing, washing my hands, I really didn’t see anyone other than my roommate,” said Heningburg.

He said even when some businesses moved further into reopening in San Diego, he continued his carefulness.

“I had to just make sure I was going to keep myself safe, so I continued to follow quarantine on my own protocol, not going out. I didn’t go to bars, I didn’t do anything like that, I didn’t go to any restaurants,” he said.

Then, as rules continued to relax, he went to one single birthday party, then found out later that someone at the party had tested positive. A few days later and he knew something was wrong with him.

“I was having a conversation and all of a sudden I got really tired, like mid talk at 6:30 at night,” he said.

He tested positive and said at first his symptoms were not terrible. Once he was not contagious, he traveled to Utah to play in a lacrosse league, and since he had previously tested positive, he had to do extra doctors visits. That’s when he realized the impacts on his health were worse that he thought. His oxygen levels quickly fell during tests.

“As a professional athlete and someone who is in really good shape, when you start moving around that level should not drop. When I started to walk around those levels started to drop,” he said.

He said with levels dropping this rapidly, he had an increased risk of cardiac arrest. He then realized how close he came to losing his life, thankful he had done the extra tests that showed he had a problem.

“I followed all the rules and I was still put in a situation and exposed to it and could have died,” he said.

This meant exercising and playing were not an option, so ultimately Heningburg has to sit out from the Utah league. He came back to San Diego to rest and heal, then will figure out when it’s safe for him to play again.

He said he wants to send a message to San Diego that the virus is dangerous and he, a young and athletic man who almost lost his life, is proof.