New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold will be sidelined indefinitely after being diagnosed with mononucleosis, coach Adam Gase announced late last week.
Darnold received the diagnosis late when Gase, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and a trainer showed up at his apartment near the Jets’ facility.
Weight loss and extreme fatigue are the most common symptoms with mononucleosis: Darnold had expressed concern about recent weight loss of five pounds, according to Gase. “That was something that was alarming to him, that he lost some weight already in the last couple of days,” Gase said.
The biggest concern is an enlarged spleen. A hit to Darnold’s midsection over the next few weeks could rupture the organ.
Mononucleosis is an infectious illness that’s sometimes called mono or “the kissing disease.” While you can get the virus that causes it through kissing, you can also get it in other ways like sharing drinks or utensils. It’s contagious, but you’re less likely to catch mono than other illnesses like the common cold.
In general, the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is what causes mono. It’s a common virus that many people are exposed to as kids. It’s possible to be infected with EBV and carry it in your body for your entire life without ever having symptoms of mono.
EBV spreads through bodily fluids. The most common way it spreads is through saliva, which is why you can get it from kissing. You can also get it if you share food, drinks, or silverware with a person who has it, or if an infected person coughs or sneezes near you. As long as an object — like a fork or spoon — that an infected person used is still moist, the virus is probably still present and contagious.
EBV can also spread through blood and semen. So although it’s less likely, you can get mono from medical procedures such as blood transfusions and organ transplants, or through sexual contact.
If you’ve never been infected with EBV and you get it, you may start to have symptoms of mono within about 4 to 7 weeks. You could develop a fever, fatigue, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, or other symptoms, like sore muscles and a loss of appetite.
Most people who get mono feel better in about 2 to 4 weeks, but sometimes the fatigue can last for several weeks after that. In some cases, it can take 6 months or longer for the symptoms to go away.