VFL Travis Exum finds hope in cheering on the Vols while battling COVID-19

Exum is still suffering from lingering effects of COVID, so won’t be able to cheer on the Vols in person this weekend.
Published: Jun. 10, 2021 at 11:40 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 11:41 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -The Baseball Vols are still chasing a championship this weekend as Tennessee prepares to host Louisiana State University in the first ever Super Regional held in Knoxville. VFL Travis Exum, a former pitcher for the Vols told WVLT News this baseball season has been a wild ride for Vols fans, but it has especially been a wild one for him after COVID-19 sidelined him earlier this year.

Exum was working as a traveling nurse in Texas during the peak of the pandemic. He said being a nurse himself, he knew he was sick.

“My wife actually flew out and drove me back 18 hours in a rental car to get me back here when I was sick,” said Exum.

Within 24 hours of arriving back in Tennessee, Exum was admitted to the hospital.

“You learn quickly that being a patient is different than being a nurse,” he said.

After spending nine days in the hospital, Exum was back home with his family, but with an oxygen tank by his side.

“It’s not farfetched to say that my wife and son literally carried me in the door because I had been in bed for nine days so just being deconditioned from being in bed for nine days - plus you have this illness we’re still learning about - I couldn’t get around,” said Exum. “I had to use a cane to get around. For the first couple weeks, my wife stayed home with me and just helped me do the things that you do on a daily basis that you don’t think about.”

Exum said his experience with COVID-19 made him see life differently, “I couldn’t be more thankful for where I’m at.”

He said having the Vols to cheer on helped him during his rehabilitation process.

“It was part of my recovery. Coming to these games and supporting this team has been a big part of my recovery,” said Exum.

Exum says he is not surprised the team made it this far and he couldn’t imagine anyone other than Coach Tony Vitello leading the Vols to victory. His only other request from the Vols is for them to bring home a championship.

“I’m ready for some teams to kind of take what we did back then and take it to the next level, which is win a championship.”

Exum is still suffering from lingering effects of COVID, so won’t be able to cheer on the Vols in person this weekend.

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