The 2020 ninth overall pick contracted COVID-19 in November while with the ZSC Lions of the Swiss League. Rossi's symptoms were only mild at the time, so following his quarantine, he was cleared to play in the world juniors. Fortunately for him, Austria was eliminated from the tournament in four games.
"The doctors told me if I played one more game in the World Junior Championship, this could have ended completely different," Rossi told The Athletic's Michael Russo. "I’m thankful to God that he supported me. … I’m just happy that I’m still alive."
The center was still experiencing fatigue, but he was set to participate in the Wild's training camp in January. However, he failed a cardiac screening as part of his pre-camp physical and was diagnosed with myocarditis, which essentially means inflammation of the heart.
Rossi's symptoms started getting worse, and he was eventually sent back to his home in Austria.
"Every time before I went to sleep, I was so scared that I won’t wake up anymore," Rossi said.
"Every night, before sleep, I was really sad and always crying because I was scared of that. I told my parents, 'Could you sleep right next to my bed and be here 'til I fall asleep?' And every day I woke up in the morning, I was so glad that I woke up. It was really hard."
Rossi gradually felt better after a few days back at home, and doctors are confident he's on the mend. The 19-year-old had his latest series of tests last week, and his blood work came back perfect, according to his agent Serge Payer.
"We caught it quick enough," Payer said. "Marco’s healthy, he’s recovering. … We’re just very, very grateful for the medical group in Minnesota for catching this. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened had this not been caught."
Rossi will have another series of tests in mid-May, and if all goes well, he will be allowed to slowly begin training for next season. Until now, he had only been allowed to go for short walks and do some non-strenuous mobility training.
"I’m used to training every day like really hard," Rossi said. "For the first few days, it was really weird because I was just sitting on the couch watching movies. I was like shaking. I wanted to do something. That’s been the hardest part of this time."
Rossi missed the entire 2020-21 campaign after tallying 120 points in 56 games with the OHL's Ottawa 67's in 2019-20.