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


  • Robert Ridgway - 2013-06-04 11:36

    Happy you pulled through.

      Bheki Cele - 2013-06-04 11:50

      We miss you Schalk!

      Delilah Dolittle - 2013-06-04 12:23

      What on earth would dislike that comment made by Mr. R? Can't be a who, only a what.

      Robert Ridgway - 2013-06-04 12:26

      Ag Mrs.Dolittle, some people think ignorance is a virtue.

      Robert Ridgway - 2013-06-04 13:11

      My thumbs up/thumbs down ratio has never been 76/0. It just doesn't feel right.

      Robert Ridgway - 2013-06-04 13:18

      Jaycee, you've just put yourself on the same level as Isak. I don't like Schalk, but I never wished him dead. Ask yourself the question: Are the 70 odd people who gave Ridgway thumbs up stupid, or just me? I'm waiting for your answer.

      Robert Ridgway - 2013-06-04 13:28

      On second thought, I sincerely apologise Isak, for comparing this moron with you.

      Cliff Bradley - 2013-06-04 16:48

      Jaycee Bezuidenhout : For the first time Robert has made a comment like a man , please don't judge him on his sincerity !!!

      Robert Ridgway - 2013-06-04 17:35

      Cliff and Isak, call me Bob. All my friends do.

  • Arno Louw - 2013-06-04 11:45

    This is just a rehash of the previous 'Burger hints at comeback' article! No new info!

      Arno Louw - 2013-06-04 13:22

      Tieno Bloubul - 2013-06-04 14:38

      Arno, jy mis die point, gister se artikel het gegaan oor n stormer, vandag se een oor die man self en dat hy amper dood is. Daar is n groot verskil :-)

  • Tieno Bloubul - 2013-06-04 11:46

    Ysters soos Schalk is survivors, en ek hoop hy kan weer jou loopbaan op die rugby veld voortvat. Sterkte van n humbled blou bul supporter

      Evert van Staaden - 2013-06-04 13:17

      Tieno, as jy ooit 'n game by nuweand kom kyk, koop ek vir jou 'n bier.

  • Tieno Bloubul - 2013-06-04 11:46

    En visser, jy is nog steeds n aap!!!

      Tieno Bloubul - 2013-06-04 13:18

      Hey sparkpluggie, waar was jy?

      James Vandermerwe - 2013-06-04 13:22

      Hahaha,tieno, ek het nou flippen amper gedink daar is n nice Bulls supporter - hehehe.

      Tieno Bloubul - 2013-06-04 14:41

      Kyk moet nie my verkeerd verstaan nie, daar is altyd provincial oorlog, veral noord en suid, maar daar kom n tyd dat jy bietjie verder dink as jou provinsie en die groter prentjie waardeer. Dit gese, isak is n aap

  • Lesley Steele - 2013-06-04 11:52

    So happy at your recovery. Take it easy for a while. As far as your bacterial meningitis is concerned, I sympathise as I had it too at 21 and nearly died. Can't wait for your return to rugby as we miss you terribly but take it easy until then. xxx

      Dennis Care Senyonjo - 2013-06-04 12:24

      the last game i watched him play was against the australians in auckland it really miss the guy

  • Masinga Best - 2013-06-04 12:03

    Incredible Schalk, a player that wears his heart on what ever team he represent. it's fantastic that he has recovered from what he was going through, "almost died" that's characters like this that makes us follow sport.

  • Larry Brinkley - 2013-06-04 12:10

    Schalla will be back!! Schalk for Bok Captain in next world cup

      Tieno Bloubul - 2013-06-04 12:21

      Nou push jy dit ou maat

      Karl Laupepa - 2013-06-04 13:05

      i agree with that . interesting to see him coombine with his former team mate , Francois Louw.

      Niel van der Walt - 2013-06-04 13:53

      Dis rerig sad dat daar mense is wat so kan vasklou aan iets wat nooit gaan gebeur nie, schalk is klaar met rugby.

      Henco Swart - 2013-06-04 21:13

      Schalk sal altyd 'n legende wees in SA Rugby, maar met die nuwe jong ysters wat deurkom, dink ek nie hy gaan dit maak tot by 2015 nie... Ek is bly dat Schalk sy lewe kan voort sit... Ek hoop die lesse wat hy in rugby geleer het, sal hom help om 'n groter sukses te maak van die res van sy lewe... Ek is 'n Bulls fan... en die kwaadste wat ek vir hom was, is toe hy Fourie Du Preez van sy blinde kant geduik het dat almal gedink het dis FdP se einde... in die 2009(?) CC half eindstryd... Kom ons onthou die goeie oomblikke.

  • Christopher Booise - 2013-06-04 12:17

    Glad for you Schalk, I pray for your 100% recovery. You are truly missed.

  • Carl Dillon - 2013-06-04 12:46

    Glad you pulled through and are on the way to recovering, but you have nothing to prove to WP, Springboks or the South African public out of loyalty. You are a legend in South African rugby! Look after your health and future with your family. Do TV or coaching you have a lot to offer! All the best I'm sure everybody supports you.

  • Louise Barnard - 2013-06-04 13:10

    I am proud of our WP rugby union for standing by him and honouring his contract! Most employers would have had an incapacity hearing long ago!! You do what you feel is right for you, play or don't play, only you can make that decision!! But if you decide to play, WP will welcome you!

  • Yagyah Rabin - 2013-06-04 13:36

    Go to Japan and make some cash with J.Fourie... If you ready come back for the world cup

  • Thomas Williams - 2013-06-04 13:57

    Old Bugger, time to quit rugby...

  • Theresa Pickering - 2013-06-04 14:07

    The Grace of God brought u through the worst. The Grace of God will bring u through the rest to emerge a bigger and better person in all aspects. He had a second chance and he is blessed by this gift.

  • Louis Dawid Kriel - 2013-06-04 14:30

    Bakteriele breinvlies ontsteking is nie n grap nie, dit kon enige kant toe gegaan het. Bly en dankbaar dat jy nog met ons is Schalkie!!

  • Rudel du Preez - 2013-06-04 15:19

    Sterkte Schalk,word gou gesond

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