England spinner Jack Leach has admitted that he feared for his life after contracting sepsis on the tour of New Zealand earlier this winter.
The 28-year-old suffers from Crohn’s disease and his immune system is weakened by the medication he takes. He initially contracted gastroenteritis after the first Test of the two-match series with the Black Caps and was later hospitalised with sepsis, which is a potentially fatal illness caused by the immune system’s extreme reaction to an infection.
“I didn’t know too much about it at the time, how serious it could be, but I remember feeling very, very ill,” Leach told Press Association.
“I remember thinking, ‘Don’t fall asleep because you might not wake up’. It was that serious in terms of how I was feeling.
“I was out of it, really. My blood pressure was dropping quickly, my heart-rate was 190 and my temperature was 40 degrees. That’s when they called an ambulance and got me to hospital.
“Once I got there, got the antibiotics in my arm and on to a drip, I started to feel better quite quickly but it still took a couple of nights in hospital and I was probably still recovering when I flew back from New Zealand. It took longer to get over than I thought.”
Leach travelled with England for their subsequent tour of South Africa but was struck down by a bug that swept through the side, and he returned home prior to the third Test of the series, which England won 3-1.
“I picked up a couple of things out there and my body couldn’t cope with it,” Leach added.
“Other people got ill but I struggled to fight it off as well as a healthy person. The medication I’m on for Crohn’s weakens my immune system, so it is just a bit more of a struggle.”