Calvin Anderson Reveals Harrowing Battle with Mystery Illness

Patriots' Calvin Anderson reflects on pivotal health scare.

by Faizan Chaudhary
Calvin Anderson Reveals Harrowing Battle with Mystery Illness
© Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

In a gripping testament to resilience and the will to survive, New England Patriots offensive tackle Calvin Anderson has made a triumphant return to football after battling a life-threatening illness. Last year, during a charitable visit to Nigeria, Anderson contracted malaria—an ordeal that left him with a chilling 50 percent chance of survival.

The crisis started when Anderson went back to the US with his wife. He suddenly had a raging fever, spiking to the terrifying height of 104.5. Even in his stubbornness, his wife finally convinced him to see a doctor. Because he did go to the hospital, he was treated in time.

He had contracted malaria from a mosquito bite on his trip. The doctors later told his wife that she had mere hours left.

Life-Saving Decision

Recalling the incident, Anderson said to the Boston Globe, "If left to my own devices, I might have decided to not prioritize my health at that moment.

As football players, we often put many things ahead of our health to continue playing. But this was a time when having someone in my corner to make a crucial decision was literally a matter of life and death." Upon diagnosis, Anderson was placed on the non-football injury list as the 2023 NFL season commenced.

However, he did manage to return after recuperation and got to play five games for the Patriots during the month of March this year. But Anderson's difficulties didn't stop there. It was during a practice session last season, when he was diagnosed with a heart contusion, a bruise on the muscle of the heart, from a tackle made by a defensive teammate.

This brought about some rather weird and constant heart palpitations, which would ultimately signal the end of his season once he was placed on injured reserve. And now, as the 2024 season approaches, Anderson is ready to make a long-overdue return to the gridiron under the new leadership of head coach Jerod Mayo.

His was a story of victory, personal and as a reminder of the importance of health awareness at the height of careers. Calvin Anderson's return from the brink of a deadly disease to professional football is a story of incredible tenacity, timely medical intervention, and unwavering personal support.

As he gets set to suit up again, his story serves as both one of inspiration and one of caution to both athletes and fans.