BOSTON (CBS) — Boston College defensive tackle Ryan Betro gave the world something to smile about Thursday night, sharing video of his father, Richard, being released from Brigham And Women’s hospital after a long battle with COVID-19.
It’s hard not to get a bit emotional when watching the video of Richard — better known as Dicky– being reunited with his family. It was the first time they had been together in 50 days, with nurses and staff cheering him on as his family wheeled him out of the hospital.
In addition to recovering from COVID-19, Richard also overcame pneumonia, lung and kidney failure, and blood and fungal infections during his lengthy stay.
“My dad is a superhero, 100 percent,” Ryan told WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche. “You could write a book on his life. He’s been through so much more adversity than this, and he truly is a superhero and an amazing man. I’m so happy everybody can hear this story.”
Thought that everyone could use a little positive news in their lives. My dad has been battling covid for 50 days. He overcame pneumonia, kidney failure, fevers, but despite these adversities. I’m happy to announce dicky beats it out of the hospital! God is great! pic.twitter.com/5mHUyBBNoN
— Ryan Betro (@rbetro75) May 22, 2020
Seeing his father for the first time in nearly two months is a moment that Ryan and his family will smile about for the rest of their lives.
“It was euphoria. It was absolutely amazing,” said Ryan. “We were waiting for the elevator to open and my dad to be there. It opened, there was happy music playing, and I’ll never forget seeing his big smile – even through the mask – and watching his eyes light up.”
Richard’s long ordeal began back on March 26 when he started to feel ill. He went to an urgent care facility in Falmouth where nurses told him he was exhibiting many symptoms of COVID-19 and that he should isolate at home. A few days later when his family was bringing food to leave at his door, they noticed their father was not himself. They called an ambulance to take him to Falmouth Hospital, and the next day, Richard’s COVID-19 test came back positive.
Watching him being taken away in the ambulance was the last time the family saw Richard in person for the next 50 days. He was transferred to Brigham And Women’s after five days, and spent 45 days on a ventilator.
“It’s challenging enough not seeing your father for 50 days. It’s more challenging when you don’t know if you’re ever going to see him again,” said Ryan.
Ryan praised the nurses at Brigham And Women’s for constantly updating his family on his father’s condition, and going above and beyond to help them communicate with him through FaceTime. While they couldn’t be there in person, that went a long way to show Richard that his family was by his side during his difficult battle.
Richard is now at a rehab facility as he works to regain some motor functions. The Betro family still relies on FaceTime to communicate with him, but he is acting a lot more like the Dicky Betro that they know.
“He’s back to himself making jokes, and he’s happy. It’s like nothing happened to the guy,” said Ryan. “It’s amazing.”
Ryan cannot wait to take the field for Boston College, praising his Eagles teammates and the BC staff for their support over the last two months. The Walpole native and former standout at Lawrence Academy is confident that the next time he runs through the tunnel at Alumni Stadium, his father will be there to support.
“My dad is the reason I became a football player. He is a huge part of why I have such love for the game. My dad has never missed one of my games — ever,” said Ryan. “When I take that field this year it’s going to be even more special. I grew up a BC football fan, my dad is a longtime BC football fan, and coming here was important.
“Now to know the challenges my dad went through,” he said, “I’ll be representing the name on my back and more proud of it than ever.”