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    Burger: I was close to dying

    2013-06-04 11:30
    Cape Town - Stormers flank Schalk Burger has revealed that his family feared for his life while he was in hospital with bacterial meningitis.

    Burger missed all of 2012 with a knee injury, before straining his calf muscle at the Stormers’ pre-season training camp in Hermanus earlier this year.

    He then went under the knife to reduce pressure on a nerve that was influencing the performance of his calf muscle (which, it was discovered, was connected to a cyst in his back) and that is when he became seriously ill.

    VIDEO: Schalk Burger injury update

    "There was a critical stage for about four, nearly five days in which there was a lot of uncertainty. Obviously through that period I was in isolation and I was seriously ill… in fact, so ill that some people around me thought, ‘This is it’," he told the Stormers website.

    “Luckily I got through that and also draining the cyst wasn’t good enough, so they had to come up with a new game plan and that was actually removing the cyst.

    "Unfortunately after that I had to have another three back operations. Where I am at now is that I am busy recovering, the cyst has been removed completely - so I am (still) just recovering from the bacterial meningitis.

    “At the moment my rehabilitation consists of cycling and walking. I am seeing my specialist again in seven weeks’ time when I will enter the next phase of my rehabilitation."

    The 68-Test cap veteran said he cannot give an exact timeline over a potential return to the playing-field, but he remains determined to make a comeback in 2013.

    “I am quietly confident of playing rugby again this year, but I can’t give a clear indication until that time arrives. At the moment I am still in a recuperation phase, because obviously I was very, very ill, but it’s just a matter of time now.

    “All-in-all I was in hospital for six weeks, and then indoors for eight weeks and I have been outdoors for a couple of days now only,” added Burger.

    Meanwhile, WP Rugby CEO Rob Wagner said Burger is still contracted until the end of the 2014 season and that the union will honour the contract.

    “Schalk Burger is a very special son of Western Province rugby. He has been here for longer than he can remember I think, going back to Under-13 rugby.

    “He has been a model professional rugby player, someone who has made it quite clear where his loyalties lie, and certainly is hugely appreciated by Western Province Rugby,” said Wagner.

    HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you think Schalk Burger will ever play for the Springboks again? Send your thoughts to Sport24

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