Ivan Douglas played football at Ohio State in the early 2000s, having a promising football career cut short due to blood clots in 2003. Now, according to a former teammate, he is “fighting for his life” in a battle with COVID-19.
Chukwuemeka Nnamdi Onyejekwe, who goes by his rap name Mekka Don, was an Ohio State walk-on from 1999-01. He remains fairly involved with the program, recording a number of theme songs and other Ohio State-themed raps over the last few years.
On Thursday afternoon, he gave a scary update on the former OSU offensive lineman. “One of my former teammates and Buckeye brother Ivan Douglas is fighting for his life right now,” he tweeted.
“He’s in the ICU in a medically induced coma right now from COVID. He’s a husband/father with two little children. We need him.”
Buckeye Nation we really need your prayers right now! One of my former teammates and Buckeye brother Ivan Douglas is fighting for his life right now. He’s in the ICU in a medically induced coma right now from Covid. He’s a husband/father with two little children. We need him 🙏🏾
— Mekka Don (@MekkaDonMusic) October 14, 2021
Jonathan Wells, a running back at Ohio State during Douglas’ time in Columbus, has also posted about his status on Facebook Wednesday. He did not go into detail, but was “asking for prayers” for his friend.
As of 2015, Ivan Douglas was in Ohio, working for the Regional Transit Authority in Cleveland.
In 2005, The Press Democrat wrote about his attempt at a football comeback with the Oakland Raiders, which unfortunately didn’t take hold.
Douglas sat out the 2001 season. But he came back strong in 2002, seemingly relegating his ailment to the past. He was the biggest player on the best college football team in the nation, starting 12 games for the BCS-champion Buckeyes. Sure, he was frustrated when a sprained ankle forced him out of Ohio State’s title-clinching, 31-24 victory over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. But he was poised for success as his senior year approached.
Then it happened again. Douglas suffered another blood clot in his chest in July, 2003. He hasn’t suited up for a football game since. Douglas helped the squad as a student coach and worked toward his degree in criminology, watching several of his Ohio State teammates graduate from the NCAA to NFL riches.
“It was pretty frustrating, but then again, it’s also motivation,” Douglas said. “Because you know that you played right next to these guys. You have as much talent as these guys. I actually looked at it as a point where God’s kind of asking me, ‘If you really want to do this, then you’ll have to put a little more into it than everybody else did to prove that you want it.’ “
Our thoughts are with Ivan Douglas and his family. We’ll have updates as we learn more about his status.