Former BYUtv ‘American Ride’ Host Stan Ellsworth Recovering From COVID-19

Aug 3, 2020, 3:09 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Everyone has dealt with a lot of change and plenty of inconveniences during this pandemic. But thousands have suffered directly from this deadly virus. One Utah man who is now recovering from COVID-19 said taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself is worth it.

You know him as the burly, tough man from a BYUtv original series, who takes his motorcycle across the country telling the nation’s story.

“I’m Stan Ellsworth. This ain’t your high school history class, this is American Ride,” he said at the beginning of each show.

Stan Ellsworth was the former host of BYUtv’s “American Ride,” where he would travel the country on his motorcycle telling the nation’s story.

But today, we’re telling his story.

“I thought, I’ll never catch this. You know, I’m big and tough and strong,” Ellsworth said. “I can handle anything!”

And yet, even 61-year-old Stan Ellsworth wasn’t immune to COVID-19.

Stan’s wife, Stacey Ellsworth, works in an assisted memory care facility where there was a COVID-19 outbreak. Stacey soon contracted the virus herself, but didn’t experience very severe symptoms.

Stan was determined to take care of his wife, but eventually, he started feeling ill too.

“And then I started having trouble breathing,” he said.

Stacey took him to the hospital. “The breathing was getting worse like by the minute,” she explained.

She thought she’d be back in a couple of hours to pick him up. But instead, “He blew me a kiss and then I didn’t see him for 26 days,” she said.

Doctors put Stan Ellsworth on a ventilator that night and told his wife things weren’t looking good.

Stan Ellsworth’s grandchildren wrote him notes while he was in the hospital.

“You better prepare yourself because this could go either way. He’s really, really sick,” Stacey Ellsworth said. “I was just a wreck, I was falling apart.”

Since Stacey was still in isolation from having the virus herself, she was alone. “Nobody could come over and comfort me. They couldn’t give me a hug and say, ‘It’s all gonna be OK,’” she said.

“You know, all the things we’ve been watching on the news were happening to my family. It was hitting way too close to home,” she added.

Stan had pneumonia in both lungs. With no visitors allowed in the hospital, he was also alone. Stacey begged the nurses to pass along messages to him: “Could you just tell him I love him, could you tell him that we’re all praying for him?”

He relied on a picture of him and Stacey at a Stadium of Fire Journey concert for motivation.

“I’d look up at that picture and I’d see Stacey,” and think, “Right now I just got to fight to get home to her, so that picture was really something magical to me.”

Sadly, Stan’s mother died while he was at the hospital in a coma. He believes she was with him in spirit when no one else could physically be there because of the visitor restriction policy.

“My mom knew it and she showed up,” he said. “That’s what moms do.”

He said he was encouraged by the message she passed on: “You’re in a tough spot right now. But you are made for tough spots. This is your thing. So you fight.”

Stan said that experience and the prayers of friends and family and his wonderful nurses got him through it.

After spending a total of 46 days in the hospital, the former football player was finally discharged on June 27.

After spending a total of 46 days in the hospital, Stan Ellsworth was finally discharged.

“I beat it, but not without a lot of help,” Stan said.

The Ellsworths said it was a miracle.

But it hasn’t been easy.

“It’s like he had to relearn how to do everything again,” Stacey said.

“This beats you down. This disease is no joke,” Stan Ellsworth added. “It ate me alive, chewed me up and spit me out halfway dead.”

Intensive care unit Dr. Peter Crossno of Intermountain Healthcare said recovery is a long road.

“They’re looking at months, if not years of recovery,” he described.

Stan went through occupational, physical and speech therapy.

“You get through the treatment, but you’re left with the weakness in the muscles, the cognitive challenges, people have to learn how to swallow again, sometimes,” he explained.

Crossno said a traumatic experience like this can also impact someone’s emotional and mental health.

“It’s really life-changing for people,” Crossno said.

Stan and Stacey look through photos that hung in Stan’s hospital room when he was battling COVID-19.

For Stan Ellsworth, the challenge was in realizing he had changed. “You know, the emotional hit is I’m not who I was,” he said. “It’s a difficult realization.”

Stan Ellsworth will be on oxygen for the next four to six months. He urges people to take precautions seriously.

“Wearing a mask, I think is a wise choice,” he said.

Today, Stan and Stacey Ellsworth said they now live for the simple things in life like their children, their grandchildren and each other.

“I am so grateful for him every day of my life,” Stacey Ellsworth said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Your Life Your Health

Joan DuQuette and Amanda DuQuette-Roberts...
Ayanna Likens

South Jordan family is thankful for organ donation this Thanksgiving

A local family said they have a lot to be thankful for this year after their family member received a lifesaving kidney transplant, but this transplant actually saved more than just one life.
7 days ago
Thanksgiving feast...
Ayanna Likens

Taking food allergies into account this holiday season

As Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations bring people around the table, Intermountain Healthcare dietitians say it's crucial to take food allergies into consideration when planning the big meal.
12 days ago
aortic aneurysm repair...
Ayanna Likens

‘It was a real miracle for us’ New technology at Intermountain Healthcare saves man’s life

Intermountain Healthcare recently became the first in Utah to perform a new lifesaving and less invasive heart procedure. 
19 days ago
Ayanna Likens

Utah mom, doctor shed light on high-risk pregnancy diagnosis

One Salt Lake mom, who was diagnosed with a rare, high-risk pregnancy diagnosis called placenta accreta, speaks about her experience. A doctor from Intermountain Healthcare also weighs in.
27 days ago
Ayanna Likens

Tips to keep your child safe this Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, which means streets will soon be filled with trick-or-treaters whose focus on candy may distract them from watching cars. Here are some tips to keep them safe.
1 month ago
The KSL Broadcast House recently held a flu shot clinic. (KSL TV)...
Ayanna Likens

Why getting your flu shot this year is crucial

October is the time to prepare for the holidays and upcoming flu season with a flu shot.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Former BYUtv ‘American Ride’ Host Stan Ellsworth Recovering From COVID-19