"It's important that everyone understands the severity of what's happening in the world right now with this coronavirus," the NBA player said

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 25, 2020 08:59 AM
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Karl-Anthony Towns is sharing his family’s “difficult” experience with the coronavirus in hopes of conveying the seriousness of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the NBA star, 24, posted a video on Instagram, during which he opened up about his mother’s recent health battle, explaining that she has been hospitalized and placed under a medically induced coma after contracting COVID-19-like symptoms. Towns’ mom, Jacqueline Cruz, first felt sick last week, then began to “deteriorate” each day, the athlete said.

“I think it’s important that everyone understands the severity of what’s happening in the world right now with this coronavirus,” said Towns in the five-minute video message.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves player said his mother’s condition “kept getting worse,” and when his father — who was also sent to the hospital for symptoms of the virus — was released and told to quarantine at home, his mom remained in the hospital.

One day, it appeared that Cruz “turned a corner,” Towns said, but she quickly went “sideways” and was put on a ventilator. Towns got emotional in the clip, recalling the conversation he had with his mother before her coma.

“She was telling me things I didn’t want to hear. I dismissed some things she was saying because it wasn’t something I wanted to hear,” he said. “… It’s very difficult for me and my family, to say the least. She’s the head of our household, she’s the boss.”

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Now, Towns said he and his family are staying positive as they receive updates day by day. Admitting that the situation is “rough,” the basketball player explained he’s “keeping my strength up for everybody and my family.”

“Me an my family, we’re going to keep fighting this. … We’re gonna win,” Towns said. “Life may keep throwing punches at me but I’m gonna keep getting back up and I ain’t gonna quit at any time, and neither will my whole family and neither will my mother.”

He added: “My mother is the strongest woman I know, and I know she’ll beat this. And we’re gonna rejoice when she does.”

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Towns captioned the heartfelt post in all caps, writing, “WE CAN BEAT THIS, BUT THIS IS SERIOUS AND WE NEED TO TAKE EVERY PRECAUTION.”

“Sharing my story in the hopes that everyone stays at home!” he continued. “We need more equipment and we need to help those medical personnel on the front lines.”

Towns concluded: “Thank you to the medical staff who are helping my mom. You are all the true heroes! Praying for all of us at this difficult time.”

Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell, who was also diagnosed with the coronavirus this month, retweeted Towns’ message, uring the fellow NBA star to “stay strong” during this hard time.

“Stay strong @KarlTowns God has got you,” he tweeted.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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