Former Sports Presenter “in a Coma” After Rio 2016 Infection

Former Sky Sports presenter Charlie Webster is reportedly in a coma and “battling for survival”, after contracting a serious infection during a charity cycling event to Rio ahead of the Olympic Games.

Webster, who alongside her work with Sky Sports New also hosted ITV’s Tour Series cycling race, completed a 3,000 mile charity ride to Rio for the Olympic Games. After watching the Olympic Games opening ceremony in the Brazilian city she was hospitalised, with her initially believing her illness was a result of severe dehydration. However, it was eventually discovered that she was suffering with a potentially fatal infection, with The Sun reporting that she is now “in a coma on life support.”

Charlie-Webster-Hospital

Image Credit: Dave J Hogan / Getty Images

Webster may have contracted a rare strain of Malaria, the outlet reports, after completing the six-week charity cycling event. During the lengthy journey participants were only allowed one rest day per week, cycling from London through France, Spain and Portugal, before catching a flight to the north of Brazil and then cycling to Rio de Janeiro. A post on the presenter’s Twitter page confirmed that her illness was as a result of a bacterial infection, with a tweeted posted by her account today reading: “Thank you very much for your messages of support, it means a lot.” 

A friend of Charlie’s reportedly told the tabloid: “Charlie is battling for survival at the moment – everyone is distraught. But she is so strong and a very fit and healthy person in general so we have to keep positive. The doctors have now identified the very rare malaria strain she has contracted so she is receiving the right treatment in Rio, with advice being provided by the London School of Tropical Medicine.”

Prior to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games many were concerned for the athletes’ well-being, with a Zika virus epidemic having hit Brazil hard this year, causing professionals to warn participants away from venturing into mosquito-infested areas. Malaria is another serious tropical disease carried by mosquitoes, with potential complications including seizures, brain damage and coma.