METAIRIE, La. -- Former New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey, who famously made a 63-yard field goal in 1970 despite being born without toes on his right kicking foot, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Dempsey's daughter, Ashley, told NOLA.com about his diagnosis. Dempsey, 71, is also battling Alzheimer's disease and dementia. He is a resident at the Lambeth House senior living center in New Orleans, which has been hit hard by the outbreak of the virus. More than 50 resident have been affected, with at least 13 of them dying, according to NOLA.com.
Ashley Dempsey said her father's symptoms have been relatively mild. And the hospital deemed his oxygen levels to be adequate.
"His appetite has been good. He's doing OK," Ashley Dempsey 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 made his legendary 63-yard field goal in New Orleans' Tulane Stadium to help his team come from behind and beat the Detroit Lions 19-17 in the final seconds. It was the longest kick in NFL history for 28 years until the Denver Broncos' Jason Elam became the first to match it in 1998. The Broncos' Matt Prater then broke the record with a 64-yarder in 2013.
The Saints' extended family has been affected in multiple ways by the coronavirus. Coach Sean Payton tested positive two weeks ago before saying he was cleared last week.
Also, the father of former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert died Saturday at the age of 81 after testing positive for the coronavirus.
New Orleans is located in Orleans Parish, which has the highest per-capita death toll from the coronavirus of any county in the United States, according to NOLA.com. The Louisiana Department of Health reported a total of 86 deaths in Orleans Parish as of Monday afternoon, with a total of 4,025 positive cases and 185 deaths statewide.