Lightning national anthem singer out of ICU, remains in hospital as she battles COVID-19

Sonya Bryson-Kirksey was moved out of the ICU but is still on the road to recovery, her husband told FOX 13.

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s national anthem singer for home games remains hospitalized as she battles COVID-19 but doctors moved her out of the ICU once her fever broke. 

Jimmie Kirksey Jr., Sonya's husband, said she is working on her breathing now. 

Sonya was rushed to the hospital back on July 16 after suffering from COVID-related pneumonia. She tested positive for the delta variant, which accounts for 93% of new U.S. cases reported during the last two weeks of July, according to the CDC.

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She was placed in the ICU in late July. Her immune system was already compromised because she has multiple sclerosis. There is currently no cure for the disease.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the immune system for those who have multiple sclerosis attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between the brain and body.

Her husband said Sonya was previously vaccinated, and believes she was exposed to the virus during the Stanley Cup championship celebrations

"We've been trying to be protective of her, you know, because of her M.S. She was wearing her mask and fans were like ‘Can you take it down so we can take a picture?’ Jimmie explained. "So she takes it down to take a picture and stuff and lo and behold... this is what happens. With her being like this, she is going to wear her mask from now one. So, if someone asks to take it down...I hate it for ya."

He said with the vaccine, it may help, but it doesn’t prevent someone from contracting COVID-19.

"That’s the thing that most people think, ‘I got the vaccinations, so I’m good," Jimmie said. "The doctors told me because my immune system is better than hers, because she has M.S. So her immune system is down, lower than mine."

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Jimmie previously said his wife wanted to make people aware of the importance of getting the vaccine.

"Her words are, ‘Please go get vaccinated,’" he said. "If not for yourself, for others because not getting vaccinated, you could be a carrier and you could harm others even if they have the vaccination." 

Sonya has been receiving an outpouring of support from the Lightning community. She’s been a staple at the Lightning games for over eight years. 

1771 Designs, a local T-shirt company, is raising money for the Kirkseys. The business had previously created a shirt with the words, "Puck Multiple Sclerosis," in honor of Sonya. All proceeds made from the shirt are donated to the National MS Society.