Birmingham & Solihull RFC coach Henno Venter has revealed how quick action from his wife Michelle saved him from a deadly form of meningitis.
The South African spent four days in hospital in September after being struck down by the powerful virus.
The ex-Coventry forward recalled how he went to bed with a headache only for his condition to become serious as other symptoms presented themselves.
By the following morning the 32-year-old complained of cold feet, cold hands and a high temperature - and that set alarm bells ringing for Michelle.
And Venter could not be more grateful.
“My wife is a dance teacher, she’s not medical at all but she has done quite a few events for a meningitis charity , including walking the Great Wall of China.
“One of her family members had it a few years ago and since then she has known quite a lot about the illness. I’ve got her to thank for reacting quickly and rushing me to hospital.
“It was scary for me but it was a very stressful time for all of us, she’s 25 weeks pregnant with our second child and it was a dangerous situation.”
Michelle’s swift response meant doctors could treat the condition with antibiotics before it became the more serious bacterial form.
Venter was released later that week but is still suffering from headaches and dizziness he describes as ‘like a permanent hang-over’.
The player coach has lost two-stone and is not expected to play again until Christmas.
“The plan is to still carry on playing but I have lost a lot of strength and I think it will take a while to built that back up. If I aim to be playing again by Christmas hopefully I can surprise myself.”