Pro Water Polo Player Released From Hospital after 5-Week Battle with COVID-19

24-year old Hungarian water polo player Kristof Toth has been released from the hospital after suffering a bilateral pulmonary embolism (blood clots in his lungs) and pneumonia related to a coronavirus infection. That included a week-and-a-half on a breathing assistance machine.

Toth was diagnosed with COVID-19 in August, and battled the disease caused by the novel coronavirus for about a month-and-a-half.

“I felt horrible pain in my chest and back at the same time, with every breath I took, with every move,” Toth told “Sweat flowed from me like after a strong workout and I couldn’t even talk anymore. I started to suffocate, I couldn’t breathe. I am eternally grateful to the nurses and doctors. I got a new life, I was very lucky.”

Toth says he will now undergo a long rehabilitation process that will “not be rushed” before returning to the pool. During October, he will go through checks with various specialists who will run tests to understand his fitness and safety to return to training.

Toth plays for OSC-Ujbuda, where 10 out of 14 members of the team became infected with coronavirus. He was at home quarantining with what were then ‘mild’ symptoms, but those symptoms eventually worsened. A few days after, he went to St. Ladislaus Hospital, where it was discovered that he had pneumonia and blood clots in both lungs, which are conditions commonly associated with COVID-19.

Then came the worst half hour of my life,” Toth said. “I felt horrible pain in my chest and back at the same time, with every breath I took, with every single movement.”

Toth’s symptoms lasted for about 3 weeks, with positive test results for coronavirus lasting 2 more weeks.

Toth’s release comes the same week where Hungarian swimmer Kristof Milak, a 20-year old who made global headlines last summer by breaking Michael Phelps’ World Record in the 200 fly, also suffered from COVID-19. While his symptoms were not as severe as Toth’s, Milak did experience fever, weakness, and weight loss. He too will undergo testing before he can return to the pool for training, and he will miss at least part of the ISL season, and likely the entirety of the year.

Hungary was the home of the largest announced outbreak of coronavirus among National level swimmers. Early in the pandemic, 9 National Team members tested positive after participating in training camps abroad, including the defending World Champion in the 200 fly Boglarka Kapas. None of those 9 publicly reported any serious symptoms.

While individuals as young as Toth and Milak more often see mild symptoms, if any at all, from coronavirus infections, there are occasionally complications, as seen in these two examples.

Hungary is in the midst of a massive spike of coronavirus infections after being relatively-sared early in the pandemic. New daily infections have been climbing rapidaly since late August, with a height last week of almost 1,400 new infections on October 10. Those increases in new cases have been associated with a spike in COVID-19 attributed deaths. October 13 and 14 saw the two highest recorded daily totals of COVID-19 deaths in the country so far with 28 and 27 cases, respectively.

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, plays host to the 2nd season of the International Swimming League beginning on Friday.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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