TAMPA, Fla. — During the early stages of the NFL season as Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady adjusted to his new team, his father didn’t care about the wins or the losses.

He just wanted to breathe, he said.

On Sunday, before Brady won his seventh Super Bowl, his parents, Tom Brady Sr. and Galynn Brady, detailed their battles with COVID-19 from September 2020, which left Brady Sr. in the hospital for 18 days, he said.

“I’m thankful to be here, to be honest with you,” Brady Sr. said in an interview with NFL Network.

The couple, both 76 and married for 52 years, said they took steps to prevent the deadly virus. But they both still contracted it. One day, Brady Sr. said he felt sick and visited an urgent care. Within an hour, a doctor told him he tested positive.

Brady Sr. then developed pneumonia and needed supplemental oxygen. He called the ordeal “harrowing.” Simultaneously, he wife suffered a bout with the disease, though it was less severe.

“Every day I was just waiting for the doctor to call, and it was like, ‘Well, he’s in stable condition,’’ Galynn said. “I hated the word ‘stable.’ It was so unnerving.”

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Brady’s parents said their son spoke with his father via FaceTime regularly and called the hospital every morning. Their grandchildren sent encouraging cards and letters. Brady Sr. eventually recovered, but soon after leaving the hospital, he suffered a knee injury that required surgery, he said.

“A lot of families have been affected by this COVID situation,” Brady said Monday morning. “It hit my dad pretty hard. My mom recovered pretty quickly. My dad had a little rough go. But in the end, he came through like he always does. He’s a fighter.”

Brady’s parents encouraged others to take the virus seriously and use precautions. That included their son, who has been caught on camera more than once not wearing a mask in the proper setting. It has led to continual conversations on the issue, Brady Sr. said.

“He’s 43 years of age — we keep harping on it,” Brady Sr. said. “ … So far, God willing, he’s still healthy.”