Rugby

Superbug floors Force flank

2010-01-04 19:11
Lucky escape (File)
Perth - Wallaby star Richard Brown was struck down with a life threatening superbug after undergoing minor ankle surgery.

The flanker spent a week in hospital in Perth after contracting the dangerous, antibiotic-resistant strain of golden staph, and was only released two days before Christmas.

He was infected with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus after a relatively minor operation to remove a piece of floating bone in his left ankle.

Five days after operation, the infection took hold, and Brown, 25, was rushed back to hospital and placed on a drip.

"I was pretty crook there for a week. They told me it was touch and go there for a while," Brown told The West Australian.

"It was only a little operation but it was a pretty bad infection.

"Hospital staff said if it had got into my blood or the joint it could have caused long-term damage.

"Nurses were in a bit of a panic, and it almost spoiled my Christmas, but I'm good to go now.

"The bit of bone had been floating around for years, and it seemed a good time to have it cleaned out. Maybe it wasn't.

"I got the all-clear on Wednesday, and I'm back in the gym."

Brown went in for the operation after returning to Perth from a disappointing Wallabies tour of the northern hemisphere in which he only made only one Test appearance, as a replacement against Scotland.

"I understand. I had my spot and lost it fair and square," the 106kg flank said.

"'Cliffy' (Wycliff Palu) was playing great rugby, and he got it. That's the way it works.

"Now I'm looking forward to a good solid pre-season and getting into ME Bank Stadium for that first game."

Brown will train on Monday with most of the Western Force squad. Some of the Wallabies will return the following Monday.

"I'm coming back early because I can't wait to get started," Brown said.

"I've been down and watched the boys train a couple of times, and things are looking really good."

Force rugby manager Mitch Hardy said: "It was a superficial wound after surgery, nothing out of the ordinary.

"Luckily, the infection was caught early. If staff had not acted quickly, it could have been more serious.

"He has a good range (of movement) on his ankle, and should start his running rehab next week."

Hardy said he expected Brown to play in the Force's second trial in South Africa, against the Sharks on January 26, or their final trial against the Reds on February 5.

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