Record-setting New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey has tested positive for COVID-19.
Dempsey, 73, is battling Alzheimer’s disease and dementia at a senior-living facility in New Orleans. At least 50 residents of the facility have been affected by the coronavirus, with at least 13 dying, NOLA.com reported.
Ashley Dempsey, his daughter, said his symptoms have been relatively mild.
“His appetite has been good. He’s doing OK,” she told NOLA.com, adding that her father’s caretakers have been doing an “unbelievable” job. “He’s a fighter. He’s been fighting his whole life.”
Dempsey, who was born without fingers on his right hand and without toes on his right kicking foot, set a then-NFL record with a 63-yard field goal on Nov. 8, 1970. The kick at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans lifted the Saints to a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions.
The record was first matched by the Denver Broncos’ Jason Elam in 1998 and later broken by Denver’s Matt Prater with a 64-yarder in 2013.
Dempsey was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 1989. The modified shoe he kicked with is on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Dempsey played 11 NFL seasons with the Saints (1969-70), Philadelphia Eagles (1971-74), Los Angeles Rams (1975-76), Houston Oilers (1977) and Buffalo Bills (1978-19).
He made 159 of 258 field goals and 252 of 282 extra points in 127 games, earning a Pro Bowl selection and All-Pro honors as a rookie in 1969.