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Local Doctor Couple Headed To Super Bowl LV After Treating COVID Patients For 10 Months

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Drs. Alicja and Jacob Salman are husband and wife, and also both doctors who have spent the last 10 months treating COVID-19 patients.

But this Sunday, that will change as they turn in their scrubs for NFL gear. As CBS 2's Marissa Parra reported Wednesday, the Salmans are headed to Tampa to watch Super Bowl LV for free.

They got the news from former Bears cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman. And in just four days, the Salmans and two other health care workers from Advocate Aurora Health are headed to a Super Bowl unlike any other. They'll be leaving on Saturday.

Normally, the stadium is packed. This time, we will see more cardboard cutouts than real people.

"There's touchless entry," said Dr. Alicja Salman.

"There's still going to be masks, social distancing," said Dr. Jacob Salman.

The Salmans will be heading from Chicago to Tampa - joining the over 7,000 vaccinated healthcare workers surprised with tickets to the Super Bowl.

"Honestly, Tom Brady is the one player I'm so excited to see," Dr. Alicja Salman said. "I grew up watching him, so I never thought I'd see him at a Super Bowl."

It's a break that is long overdue. Together, the couple has treated over 1,000 COVID patients.

Parra asked the Salmans when the last time was that they took a break just for themselves.

"Probably just before COVID," said Dr. Alicja Salman.

"We never kept count," said Dr. Jacob Salman. "We just felt it was our duty."

Together as husband and wife, they faced the virus head on – and together, they then rolled up their sleeves for its vaccine one year later.

Now, together again, they get just a taste of the fruits of their labor - with a surprise delivered by "Peanut" Tillman himself.

"It's time for you two to be taken care of," Tillman said.

"I was really surprised – wow," Dr. Jacob Salman said. "I wasn't expecting that."

The Salmans remained humble throughout our interview, stating they're just one of hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers and scientists with a clear message - the end is in sight, if we all do our part.

"Once everyone gets vaccinated, once we have herd immunity, once we have enough people protected, we can finally start getting back to normal," Dr. Alicja Salman said. "And the vaccine is the key to this."

Don't miss the Super Bowl LV action on CBS 2. Kickoff is on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

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