Kerron Johnson is trapped half a world away, fearful he will miss the birth of his first born.
The former Belmont basketball star — and brother of Lions running back Kerryon Johnson — who plays professionally in Europe, has been unable to get a flight out of Romania for two months due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, while his wife, Gina, approaches her eighth month of pregnancy in Huntsville, Alabama.
“To me, that’s my worst fear,” Johnson told Yahoo Sports of missing the impending birth. “To not be there for his first breath and for my wife. That’s my worry out of all this. I’ll miss that moment. You don’t get those moments back.”
Johnson wasn’t worried initially. After Romania’s Liga Nationala was suspended, he booked a flight home in mid-March. Then, he learned the night before he was to travel that pets were no longer being allowed on-board. Kerron and Gina, who had already returned to the US, had adopted an Australian Shepherd the previous year.
“We didn’t want to abandon him,” Johnson said.
As Johnson attempted to make arrangements for the dog, new travel restrictions prevented him from catching a direct flight back to the United States, or to several countries in Europe, which were only accepting passengers who were citizens of the respective nation.
“It feels like he’s been abandoned,” Gina told the site. “He’s alone in his apartment. He has no family and no friends in a country where he knows no one. Me, having to be here, I’m enjoying time with my family and friends. And it feels so unfair.”
It feels nothing like they imagined the incredible time would be like.
“This is our first child,” Kerron said. “Most of my day is spent trying to keep her nerves down. She just wants me to be home. I’m just trying to keep it together.”
After months of calls and incalculable hours on hold, Johnson now possesses a ticket to return to the States on June 15. However, that date has been changed several times.
“It’s come to the point where I’m probably accepting the fact he may not be here for the birth,” Gina Johnson said. “I’m preparing for that.
“It’s very sad that he may miss the birth of his own first son because of this pandemic. We planned on this baby to be born in the summer on purpose because we knew he would be home during that time while the season was off.”