LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When Kent Taylor, the founder of Texas Roadhouse, died last week, his family said he was dealing with the long-term effects of COVID-19.

What You Need To Know

  • Founder of Texas Roadhouse took his life after dealing with long-term effects of COVID-19

  • Long-term symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches, or in Kent Taylor's case, tinnitus

  • Doctors dealing with COVID long-haulers at UofL Health say they’re still learning

He was a long-hauler before he took his own life, someone who dealt with symptoms long after the initial diagnosis.

“It can be troubling to have chronic medical conditions, and I think medicine, in general, is becoming more aware of that,” UofL Health advanced practice registered nurse Rachel Keith said.

The long-term symptoms of COVID-19 include fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches, or brain fog.  

In Taylor’s case, he had a severe case of tinnitus, a constant ringing in his ears.

Doctors dealing with COVID long-haulers at UofL Health say they’re still learning.

“I can’t say that all of them have mental fog, all of them have shortness of breath, all of them have decreased concentration or fatigue or something. It really is just this constellation of symptoms that seem to not resolve and just feel off,” Dr. Ryan Kaufman said.

Both medical professionals work at the UofL Health Post-COVID Care Clinic.

Keith says many of the long-haulers she deals with didn’t have extremely severe symptoms at the start.

“But they are reporting that there is a change to their health; that they never felt like they got back to the status that they were at prior to having COVID-19,” Keith said.

Kaufman said the symptoms aren’t always consistent, either.

“We have seen reports of patients kind of having waves of COVID symptoms when they’ve had long-hauler symptoms, as we call it, where it may seem that they have a period of improvement with their symptoms for a few months,” Kaufman said.

The good news is it appears the long-haul symptoms do appear to get better over time, but there’s still so much left to learn.

“It’s so difficult to be able to really give a clear picture because we know so little,” Kaufman said.

UofL Health provides longer appointment times for COVID long-haulers and provides a team of specialists to help them deal with both the physical and mental effects.

Talking about it is crucial.

“This isn’t something people are making up,” Keith said. “I think sometimes people think when you don’t know that something may be going on, it can be discounted by providers, right? ‘Oh, you’ll feel better, don’t worry about it.’ I think giving a voice and a place to start to understand this is the first step.”

And resources are always available to anyone who feels hopeless.

Multiple studies show roughly one in ten COVID-19 patients reported dealing with long-term symptoms, but medical experts warn the actual number could be higher.

Resources are also available to anyone dealing with suicidal thoughts, including the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.