Preston North End winger Tom Barkhuizen opens up on his battle with Covid and why he was glad to be double-jabbed

Tom Barkhuizen has spoken passionately about the effects Covid had on him, with the Preston North End attacker of the view that being doubled-jabbed kept him out hospital.
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Barkhuizen returned to the PNE side for Saturday’s goalless draw with Derby, his first involvement in the first team since the opening day of the season.

When he got the virus in August, he was laid low for a few days.

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But it has been the fight to get back to full health and play football which has been tough.

Preston North End's Tom Barkhuizen during Saturday's 0-0 draw against Derby County at DeepdalePreston North End's Tom Barkhuizen during Saturday's 0-0 draw against Derby County at Deepdale
Preston North End's Tom Barkhuizen during Saturday's 0-0 draw against Derby County at Deepdale

Barkhuizen said: “I was ill for maybe four or five days and when I came back we had Morecambe on the Tuesday and Swansea on the Saturday.

“I was thinking maybe I’d be on the bench at Morecambe and get back in for Swansea.

“Once I tried to train I just couldn’t train. My blood pressure wasn’t working properly.

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“The headaches I still get now were something I had never experienced before.

“That is the one lasting thing, I’m having headaches about four times a week.

“I played the Carlisle game in the reserves, came in the next day and was throwing up.

“At the moment I feel in a good place, I’ve had two 90 minutes in the reserves and 60 minutes on Saturday.”

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Barkhuizen, who is asthmatic, had both jabs earlier in the year – and is thankful that he did.

“People who think Covid is a myth…I can’t say what I really want to,” said Barkhuizen.

“They are idiots. I’ve had it and know what it’s like. I have been double-jabbed since June.

“That is another thing which wound me up, people questioning whether I was doubled-jabbed.

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“I have asthma so I would be a bloody idiot if I didn’t get double-jabbed because I need to look after myself as much as I can.”

On the subject of players being double-jabbed, Barkhuizen said: “It is none of my business what other people do.

“I have done what is right for me and the majority of lads here have done what they think is right for them – in my opinion the right way to go.

“People believe what they want to believe. People say things on social media and think it is the Bible."

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Barkhuizen added: “The physio was saying if I wasn’t double-jabbed, I would have been in intensive care. That’s not something you want to hear as a 28-year-old who looks after himself and plays top-level sport.

"If that can happen to me, the average guy in the street could be in trouble because he won't have the fitness levels I have to help overcome it."

Barkhuizen thinks having asthma has played a part in how Covid hit him.

"I would imagine my asthma did affect it," said the winger who has made 197 appearances for PNE since signing from Morecambe in January 2017.

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"When I had the inflammation on my lungs I would imagine it was half asthma related, half of the time I was coughing up my lungs," said Barkhuizen.

"Thankfully I'm pretty much past it now and I can look forward. For someone who doesn't normally miss games, to miss 12 games or whatever it has been, I was tearing my hair out."

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