Freaks and Geeks Star Jerry Messing Says He's Now Partially Paralyzed After Contracting COVID-19

Jerry Messing, who also appeared in the photo that became the "Fedora Guy" meme, was hospitalized with COVID-19 and placed on a ventilator in August

Freaks and Geeks actor Jerry Messing has been partially paralyzed after contracting COVID-19.

Messing, 35, who played Gordon Crisp on the 1999-2000 cult high school series, told TMZ he now has trouble moving his arms and legs, and cannot stand or walk by himself after his serious bout with the virus. He also told the outlet he's been in physical therapy and has been working with a machine to regain movement in his legs.

His latest update comes after Messing was hospitalized in August with COVID-19 and admitted to intensive care, where he was placed on a ventilator. Since then, he's been taken out of the ICU and is no longer on a ventilator, telling TMZ he's breathing normally and does not have a fever or cough. He also has since tested negative for COVID-19.

Now, after more than a month spent in the hospital, Messing's doctors told the actor he could have a long recovery ahead. Still, he's staying positive. Messing told TMZ "things are looking up," and he thanked people for all the support they've given him.

jerry messing
Jerry Messing. NBC

Messing had received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and had been waiting for his second shot when he contracted COVID-19 earlier this summer, TMZ previously reported.

After the news of his illness broke, Paul Feig, Freaks and Geeks creator, sent out words of support to Messing in an August tweet.

"Sending all my love and positive energy to Jerry Messing, a wonderful talented guy. He was such an important part of Freaks & Geeks in his role as the always upbeat Gordon Crisp," Feig wrote. "Here's to a full recovery, my friend."

freeks and geeks, jerry messing
Jerry Messing in Freaks and Geeks. Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Messing is currently waiting to finish his vaccinations, as doctors advise him to hold off until he's fully recovered from pneumonia, which he contracted while battling COVID-19.

His father James told TMZ Messing is recovering at a rehab facility in Tampa, Florida, where he is confident his son is in good care.

Aside from his Freaks and Geeks role, Messing has also appeared in the movie Addams Family Reunion, and in shows like Mr. Show with Bob and David, Even Stevens and The Brothers Garcia. He is also known for appearing in the photo that became the internet meme "The Fedora Guy," which shot to popularity on social media in 2013.

While paralysis from COVID-19 is rare, according to the Mayo Clinic, "Even in young people, COVID-19 can cause strokes, seizures and Guillain-Barre syndrome — a condition that causes temporary paralysis."

Messing did not tell TMZ he has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome and did not reveal a specific cause of his paralysis.

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