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Ciaran Whelan Opens Up About Serious Health Scare After Championship Game

Ciaran Whelan Opens Up About Serious Health Scare After Championship Game
By PJ Browne Updated

Earlier this year, following the round two All-Ireland qualifier between Mayo and Derry at MacHale Park, Ciaran Whelan left the stadium feeling unwell. He had been working with RTÉ for the game.

Whelan was days later diagnosed with sepsis in his left leg. Initially, the former Dublin footballer thought he simply had the 'flu.

Speaking to Radio One's Today With Sean O'Rourke, Whelan opened up about the scary episode.

I went home that evening, I got out of the car, and I started shivering. I had a kind of a fever, I thought I had man flu and I took to bed for 24 hours in the hope it would pass.

I noticed a slight muscular pain in the back of my knee. I thought maybe I'd overstretched in my sleep... but it steadily got worse over the next 24, 36 hours.

My fever got worse, I was vomiting. The time came when I was struggling to walk and at that stage, I presented myself to Beaumont Hospital. When I got in there it was very quickly identified.

Whelan was taken to hospital by ambulance and seen to 'more or less immediately' by staff. Unaware regarding the dangers of sepsis back in July, Whelan now calls it a 'silent killer'. 'I think there were 14,000 cases of it last year in Ireland,' he said.


The 41-year-old does not know how he contracted the infection. He said being 'relatively fit' played a large part in recovering from the condition. He also added that he sees himself as being 'very lucky'.

You look at sepsis and you look at young kids who can contract it. Sometimes it can be diagnosed as viral. People can contract it after operations, older people. They're probably more vulnerable in terms of surviving and recovering from it.

We all know about early intervention.

It is a matter of hours. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. They identified there was a serious infection in my blood and I got on the antibiotics straight away.

I could have been sitting in A&E for two, three, four hours and that could have been fatal.

A lot of people say 'did you have a cut, a nick of some sort?' They don't know where it came from. I had no break in my skin. I had a pain in the back of my leg. It can only be put down to the fact that my immune system was low and toxins got into my body.

The stats are frightening. It's really just to increase the awareness about it.

Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

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