Offensive tackle Trent Brown of the Las Vegas Raiders missed Sunday’s game with a vague, last-minute illness. Since Brown had only days earlier been activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list, and since the Raiders have been a complete mess with respect to protocol compliance, it was easy to imagine that Brown had either been reinfected, or had been prematurely reactivated. It turns out the situation is much weirder and much, much worse.
Brown was one of frankly an alarming number of members of the Las Vegas Raiders organization who recently had a close call with the coronavirus. He tested positive for COVID-19 back on October 21, a result that triggered a quarantine of all five of Las Vegas’ starting offensive linemen and an NFL investigation of the Raiders for possible violations of the league’s safety protocols. Brown spent more than a week away from the team, and was finally activated after practicing on Friday, ahead of the Raiders’ game against the Cleveland Browns.
Then, Sunday morning, Brown was suddenly made inactive again. Head coach Jon Gruden was vague about the cause, saying only that Brown got “ill here in the locker room,” but that everything was basically OK. To hear quarterback Derek Carr* describe things after the game, the situation was quite a bit more serious than your garden-variety stomach bug or flu-like symptoms.
“Honestly, I’m human, I got a little scared for Trent. ‘Man, I hope he’s OK.’ We had no clue what was happening. All of a sudden, we come in and they’re wheeling him out and I’m like, ‘Bro, what is going on?’ It was crazy and so as a team we prayed for him.”Las Vegas Review-Journal
Hours later, after Las Vegas’s 16–6 win over the Browns, Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported that the mysterious sudden illness was caused by someone on the Raiders’ medical staff accidentally forcing air into Brown’s circulatory system during an IV treatment. That’s a very serious and even life-threatening situation—an air bubble in a blood vessel can cause an embolism, which if it happens in the wrong part of the body can lead to organ damage or even death.
What little news there is of Brown’s condition on Monday morning is not super encouraging. Pro Football Talk reported that Brown is still hospitalized, and that he will undergo more tests. In the meantime, PFT also reported that the NFL Players Association is investigating the circumstances that led to Brown’s hospitalization. Until that investigation is complete, or more details get reported, all we are left with is the image Carr described: Brown’s teammates praying for him as he was wheeled out of the locker room. Nobody should feel very confident in the Raiders’ ability to look after the wellbeing of their players nowadays.