Vikings' Cameron Smith says positive COVID-19 test may have saved his life

The Vikings linebacker is slated for open heart surgery after his positive test.
Publish date:
Cameron Smith

Speaking to the media for the first time since sharing his diagnosis on Instagram, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith revealed that the team's protocol after a positive COVID-19 test helped saved his life by finding he needed open-heart surgery.

After testing positive while reporting to training camp, further tests revealed that Smith had a bicuspid aortic valve in his heart that would require surgery.

“I wouldn’t have ever known about this…without testing positive for COVID," Smith said on Friday. "It’s an interesting feeling, but it’s a blessing in disguise and there’s a lot of good that came from that.”

The timeline for Smith's diagnosis came about a week after his initial positive test. After he tested negative for the virus four times following the initial positive test, the Vikings gave Smith a physical which included an electrocardiogram.

After that produced some irregular results, Smith underwent an echocardiogram and an MRI which revealed he needed surgery to repair his heart.

“I was very shocked," Smith recalled. "The news is very alarming to hear open-heart surgery. My head just started instantly rushing...I talked to the doctors and drove back to the facility and I was in my car for 30 minutes [with] no sound...just kind of wondering what the next step was."

After Smith had a conversation with head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman, he felt more confident about the situation and how the Vikings handled his positive test.

"[Sugarman] really eased my head mentally and how positive this was in the long run and that it was such a great thing we found it," Smith said. "That helped me out a lot."

Since the announcement that Smith will miss the 2020 season, several people have reached out to him that have either had or known someone who has had surgery to repair a bicuspid aortic valve. 

That has helped instill confidence in Smith, who still hopes to play football as soon as next season. Following the operation, he'll endure three months of rehab, though he hopes to be with the Vikings "as much as possible" as he recovers.

"It’s not a very comforting task, but right now I feel really optimistic about getting it done and this is only going to make me better," Smith said. "I’m excited in a weird way to get this done and to kind of put it behind me."

Next Up

Miguel Sano

Twins blow lead, drop to numbing 0-7 in extra innings

Byron Buxton left the game in the ninth inning with an apparent injury.

Minnesota State Fair

There will be no state-ordered restrictions for the State Fair this year

Fair organizers could still implement their own COVID safety restrictions.

Walz-May 6 - address

Walz: Prepare for a summer 'where just the simple pleasures will be back again'

But the governor made clear vaccinations are key to getting there more quickly.

moderna vaccine covid

Drug trial shows Moderna vaccine is 96% effective in teens

The drugmaker still needs federal authorization following more studies.

raku sushi

St. Louis Park restaurant owners accused in 'sophisticated' tax fraud scheme

They're accused of underpaying sales taxes by nearly $240,000.

uss minneapolis bell

Minneapolis Parks to get historic bell, wheel back from Minnetonka HS

The bell and wheel were stolen years ago and were discovered last year at Minnetonka High School.

Kellen Mond

Coller: Draft solidifies that 2021 holds answers to Vikings' future at QB

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.


Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith to miss 2020 season due to heart issue

The Vikings linebacker discovered the issue during further testing due to COVID-19.

Ifeadi Odenigbo

3 more Vikings placed on reserve/COVID-19 list

Ifeadi Odenigbo is the latest Vikings starter to join the list.

TCO Performance Center

8 Vikings players, 4 staff are 'presumptive positive' for COVID-19

The tests are believed to have some from a New Jersey lab the NFL is investigating regarding potential "false positive" results.

Mike Zimmer

No positive COVID-19 tests yet: Vikings planning to play Sunday

Nine members of the Titans have reportedly tested positive so far.

Dru Samia

Report: Vikings' Dru Samia tests positive for COVID-19

The team is contract tracing to see if any other players need to go on the COVID-19/reserve list.

Justin Jefferson

Justin Jefferson among four Vikings placed on COVID-19 reserve list

The list is for players that have tested positive or come into contact with someone who has.

Garrett Bradbury

Packers player tests positive for COVID-19 after facing Vikings

Dillon played in Sunday's game against the Vikings at Lambeau Field.