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7-months later, Arkansas Tech football player still battling COVID from hospital

Jesse Boshears was diagnosed with COVID last summer, right before he was about to start football practice with Arkansas Tech.

PERRYVILLE, Arkansas — Sad update: Arkansas Tech University announced the passing of Jesse Boshears, who died on March 3, 2022.


Seven months in a hospital bed — that's how long an Arkansas college athlete has been battling COVID-19. 

Jesse Boshears was diagnosed with COVID last summer, right before he was about to start football practice with Arkansas Tech.

His mom, Shelly Vincent, shared his story.

"I want to keep my son here and I believe, I really, truly believe that he's going to make it through, even though it sometimes looks not great. He's just made it through so much, I feel like he's got something here to do," she said.

Holding onto hope, faith and community-- that's how Shelly Vincent and Shane Boshears have gotten through the past 7-months.

"I couldn't stand up on two feet and face something like this, I never imagined I'd be able to face this, Jesse's my whole world," Vincent said.

7-months full of highs and lows while their son Jesse continues to fight for his life from a hospital bed. 

Vincent has not left his side since he was admitted to Baptist Health on July 3, 2021.

"I tell Jesse all the time, home is not home without you. So, when you can go home, I'll go home," she said.

Home is Perryville, Arkansas for the 20-year-old "gentle giant."

The 6'3, 300 pound football player has the body of an athlete, but according to his mother, his heart is even bigger. 

"He just has a heart of gold. I mean, he's just always been that sensitive kid, but this big boy that cares for everybody," Vincent said.

Jesse was diagnosed with COVID-19 in June of 2021. 

Vincent said the diagnosis came just 3-months after he proposed to his high school sweetheart, and just days after he got his physical before starting practice for Arkansas Tech.

"He went to the doctor and all that was great, and then the next evening he called me and said, he thought he had a fever and he didn't feel good," she said.

That was just the beginning for the offensive lineman and his family.

The past months have been filled with ventilators and ECMO machines. It was also filled with many days where the doctor told Vincent and Shane that their son probably wouldn't make it through the night.

"Even though Jesse's situation looks like it's not great, God keeps opening doors and he keeps performing miracles," Vincent said.

Miracles for the man who is a friend and an inspiration to everyone he meets, even from his hospital room, according to Vincent.

"Everybody around us would always say, 'there's just something about Jesse he's so special,' and I always say 'he made our job look easy.' I don't feel like I raised him. I feel like he raised us. I really do," she said.

While their journey is far from over, Vincent is hopeful she'll get to go home with her son and that others, who hear his story, will take something from it.

"I want everyone to be aware about COVID and take the best precautions," she said.

One of the precautions the whole family has taken is getting vaccinated. They hope to head to Texas next week, so Jesse can be treated there. 

If you want to help the family out, you can donate to their GoFundMe here.

Vincent said they also have a bank account that people can donate to at Arvest Bank under "Jesse Boshears Medical Fund."

The group is also hosting a fundraiser on Sunday, Feb. 27 from 12 p.m. until 12 a.m. at the Perryville High School Football Field. 

Local singer, Jason Campbell will be singing for 12 hours in the back of his truck. The group hopes to raise $12,000 to benefit Boshears' soon-to-be transfer to Baylor's St. Luke's Hospital in Houston for specialized treatment. 

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