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Health care workers thanked with Super Bowl tickets

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TAMPA, Fla. (NEXSTAR) — John Weiss’s first Tampa Bay Buccaneers experience will be in the biggest game of the year.

He’s among 7,500 vaccinated health care workers who will get to watch Super Bowl LV live from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida as the Buccaneers face the Kansas City Chiefs.

Weiss, a Grand Rapids native and Union High School graduate, now works as an occupational therapist at Tampa General Hospital.

“Even though I’ve always felt recognized for what I do, there’s just extra recognition for what I do,” Weiss said. “So it was very special that the NFL and Tampa General put that together for us.”

He’s been working with recovering COVID-19 patients since the virus arrived in Florida.

“People think, oh, it’s a flu and only 1% of the population has it,” Wiess said. “Well, when we’re full and intensive care units are full and other units are full, I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

He said he has had to become a stand-in family member for patients who can’t see their loved ones while in isolation.

“It’s been tough to see patients who can’t have visitors. So you’re sick, you’re not well and you’re alone, and that has been the hardest part,” he said.

The biggest lesson of the pandemic, he said, is “that life is short.”

“Don’t take it for granted,” he continued. “That something like this can come out of nowhere, and it surprises you. The lesson is that take every day as if it could be your last day, because you don’t know what’s out there.”

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