NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — From 1997 to 2002, Christopher Jones was on the sidelines of Norfolk State University football, basketball, and baseball games compiling information on the touchdowns, baskets, hits, and runs.
It’s the stuff sports enthusiasts love to brag about and the details coaches and scouts rely on for recruitment. Jones was NSU’S MVP of the numbers game. His wife, Crystal Jones, is proud of how her husband used his skills to advance programs and people.
“He really tracked the statistics of each athlete which allowed them to build their career,” said Jones.
A career in communications took the Jones family to central Florida, where he worked from home and rarely left his home except for a trip to the grocery or hardware store. He wore a mask in public even when many Floridians did not.
On Father’s Day weekend, he lost his sense of taste and smell. While awaiting results from a COVID-19 test, Christopher Jones drove himself to a local emergency room; a few days later he had pneumonia. He called his wife to discuss the next step: a ventilator.
“I had no idea that would be my last conversation with him,” said Crystal Jones.
The downward spiral continued. He went into cardiac arrest but was revived. The man with no underlying health conditions was transferred to another hospital for advanced treatment.
That hospital could provide Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug that has produced good results, and ECMO — extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — a process that delivers oxygen to red blood cells and plasma that contains antibodies from people who have survived COVID-19. En route to the second hospital, Christopher Jones went into cardiac arrest again.
Despite the herculean efforts to save him, Christopher Jones never showed progress. He suffered multiple-organ failure and sepsis. A doctor broke the news to Crystal Jones by phone on July 10.
“He said ‘Ma’am your husband is dead.’ It was so hard to hear.”
Crystal Jones and their two children headed back to her hometown of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where loved ones are now providing a safety net for Crystal Jones and the children who miss their father.
“My whole life has completely turned upside down. We had so many plans for the kids,” said Jones.
She is proud of her husband’s legacy. He co-founded a sports statistics company that allows high school athletes to track their numbers. This information is carefully reviewed by college coaches and scouts.
“It allowed coaches to seek out those student-athletes and offer them scholarships — so it was really a way to help the kids and their sports,” said Jones.
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