While the first round of the NFL draft was taking place last Thursday, David Andrews took to social media to share a message to his fans: the New England Patriots center announced that he had been medically cleared to return to the field, after missing all of the 2019 season following the recovery of blood clots in his lungs. “ I’m excited that I’ll have the opportunity to play the game I love again,” Andrews wrote in his post.
The 27-year-old announcing his return this season put an end to a journey that started last August. After being unable to perform at his usual consistent standards over the course of training camp and dealing with chest pains and breath shortage, Andrews consulted a doctor following the Patriots’ third preseason game — one during which he was on the field for 28 snaps. The blood clots that were discovered would eventually end his season.
Now, however, he is set to return as he pointed out on social media and later also told patriots.com: “I had a lot of stuff that I needed to get cleared this offseason. I was fortunate enough to get it done before things got a little crazy, because a lot of it involved doctors and hospitals and now they’re doing a lot more important things than that. We’ve known for a little while [about the medical clearance], just got tired of hiding it.”
Andrew also noted that neither his heart nor his lungs were negatively impacted by the diagnosis and the subsequent treatment, and that he was trying to go through his normal in-season routine whenever possible. Whether it was taking walks before practice (during which he could not participate), spending time with his teammates in the meeting room, or simply trying to work out, the team captain tried his best to stay on top of things.
“I’ve been able to do a lot of stuff, physically, workout-wise, where I feel like I’m normal — stuff I would usually do. So that was a big positive. I feel great now, and ready to go,” Andrews said. “I tried to prepare like I would play. I tried to prepare every Monday through Friday like I would during the regular season: go to work, stay in the routine. So if I was lucky enough, and I am, that I really wouldn’t fall behind that much.”
“I would stay sharp, stay in my routine, know what I needed to do mentally, and that would carry over into the next year,” continued Andrews. Despite him actively trying to keep his shape, however, he did run into some issues: as the season went on, his time away from actively playing football caused Andrews to lose a considerable amount off his playing weight of 300 pounds. He reacted by altering his diet and become more physically active as his condition started to improve again.
“It took a while to build it, my strength included. Had to rebuild my body from the ground up, get back to my playing weight. [...] I feel great. I felt good for a long while, started to feel a lot better toward the end of the year. Moving through January and February I was just feeling really hopeful,” Andrews continued. Now, at the end of April, he is back in shape to return to the football field for the first time in eight months — and the Patriots are all the better because of it.