Hull KR star Shaun Lunt on sepsis: ‘The pain was excruciating… I didn’t think I’d play again’
SHAUN LUNT is counting his blessings after surviving a potentially fatal illness.
The Hull KR hooker was ruled out of last season’s battle for survival on the field after initially being told he was suffering from meningitis.
Shaun Lunt has opened up to SunSport about his life-threatening battlePA:Press Association
However, it later became clear he had potentially fatal sepsis, with the blood poisoning brought on by an infected abscess on his spine.
He suspects he defied the worsening illness to travel to France and face Toulouse Olympique in September, even though he started showing symptoms of being seriously ill.
Lunt, 31, revealed: “I think I played my last game with the infection as I had a fever leading up to the Toulouse game. But I felt better, so I played there on the Saturday and came back on the Sunday, took the kids to school on Monday, went home and was shaking uncontrollably.
“That was it then. I felt a crack in my neck when I played Leeds, which is where everything must have come from but was told by a couple of places that it was a stiff neck.
The Hull KR hooker was ruled out of last season’s battle for survival on the field after initially being told he was suffering from meningitisGetty Images
It was later discovered he had potentially fatal sepsis, with the blood poisoning brought on by an infected abscess on his spineCRAIG BROUGH
“I played Halifax when I wasn’t feeling great, too. Then I went to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and they initially said I had meningitis because of the symptoms. I thought only young kids got meningitis. But I never actually had meningitis, the sepsis was giving out all the signs of it. Weirdly, when I went to hospital, for the first two days I felt great but that was the antibiotics and everything they were giving me.
“As I was coming off them, I remember waking up at 4am in excruciating pain — I thought I was done with rugby league. It was a really scary time. I didn’t realise I had it until one of the nurses told me when I was at home. We didn’t know what it was. My memory and everything is blurry, it was crazy. You can’t really explain it.”
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After treatment in hospital, plus another six weeks of antibiotics, Lunt is finally turning his thoughts to playing for Hull KR again.
Before then, though, wife Grace and children Noah and Jude can expect plenty of apologies.
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Lunt said: “I’m finally feeling something like my old self. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m a different person to what I was. Now I’ve got a bit of energy back and I don’t mind being around people.
“I just wanted to shut the door and not be around anyone. My family had to deal with it. I’ve been apologising to my missus for all the times I was grumpy and really short with the kids. It was the toughest thing I’ve ever been through. It was so hard, especially for the others around me, they were the ones who were actually going through it.
“Now I go in to the club once a week to see the medical staff and the players but I may resume training after Christmas. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to play again. This isn’t like a normal injury where you get a timetable of recovery — but patience isn’t my strongest point!
“All rugby players do it and they just crack on, especially given the Qualifiers we were in at the time and I didn’t want to go through relegation again. I’ve learned my lesson: Stop playing through little injuries!”