AFL star Bachar Houli has revealed his mother is in intensive care battling COVID-19, and has pleaded with Melbourne’s Muslim community to “change your mindset” about the deadly virus.
The Richmond player uploaded a video to his Instagram page on Monday afternoon, in which he said his family was going through a “tough time”.
“I thought I’d share a very quick message and a reminder for myself and everyone out there and more specifically to the Muslim community out there,” he said.
Houli said his mother Yamana was “currently in ICU undergoing some very heavy treatment”.
“The team in the ICU is taking care of her. Her current state is a mixed one. God knows best her situation,” he said.
“What burns and what hurts truly is the fact that [none of] her family members can go and visit her, which is very, very tough. Please put yourselves in this position.”
It comes as Victoria’s coronavirus tally rose to 3967 on Monday, of which 1612 were active cases.
The biggest outbreak, 144 cases, is linked to Al-Taqwa College, a Islamic school in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
‘For the sake of Allah, go get tested’
The 32-year-old premiership player said he was not seeking sympathy, but hoped his family’s story would encourage others to get tested for coronavirus and to adhere to the state government’s stay-at-home orders.
“Hopefully you can change your mindset about COVID-19. The reality is, it is out there. I’m experiencing it right now within my family,” he said.
“Please, I urge you for the sake of Allah, go get tested. If you’re showing any form of symptoms, if you’re not showing any symptoms, please do your bit.
“I’ve been tested over 30 times being a current AFL player … It tickles a little bit, it doesn’t hurt. It’s a very, very quick procedure.”
In a statement, Richmond general manager Tim Livingstone said the club and its members were thinking of Houli.
“As a club, we’re continuing to offer Bachar and his family the support they need at this time, and we all hope Yamama recovers from COVID-19 soon,” Livingstone said.
Houli, a devout Muslim and community leader, remained in Melbourne while his Richmond teammates relocated to Queensland for five matches.
Earlier this month, his wife Rouba gave birth to the couple’s third child.