CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — Denzel Irvin, the former UNC Charlotte football player, who now serves as a coach and trainer, has had an unimaginable last few days.
“I felt bad, I couldn’t get through the workout,” he said. “I asked to go to the hospital, and they immediately told me my heart was failing.”
Irvin said doctors still do not know what led to his heart failure. He said he had experienced some COVID-like symptoms recently but had tested negative.
He said his heart function is currently around 10-15 percent and he will need a heart transplant.
But in the few days since word has come out about his health, Irvin has experienced a massive amount of support from the community he graduated from and has called home, all in a variety of ways.
First, are the messages of support that have come through social media from the Charlotte, UNC Charlotte and college football communities.
“He’s one of the first people to really push me to believe in me and he’s helped me with every aspect of my game,” said Gage Reale, who credits Irvin with getting him into the University of Louisville.
Second, is an online fundraiser that has helped raise money for medical bills. As of Friday, it has raised over $30,000.
“Ironically, it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Irvin. “I found out the price for my new heart is going to be $437,000.”
When talking about his issues Friday, Irvin’s heart rate increased from the beeping on the monitor, but calmed as he talked of his faith, which he has integrated into his coaching and training.
“Although I don’t understand what’s happening, I still do believe that God is faithful and that there’s going to be something that will come of this,” Irvin said.
One of Irvin’s former teammates, Austin Duke, said he was and always has been an inspiration to so many, and this situation is none other than devastating.
“By him going through this adversity and getting through it, he can be a voice of inspiration and encouragement for so many people,” Duke said.
Another former player said he has turned to prayer.
“I have faith in him, and that’s all we can have at this time, faith,” Hasaan Klugh said, another former UNC Charlotte football player.
Irvin said he knows it will be a long road to get back to his love of training and coaching, but he said he will get there.