Three-time Olympic gold medalist Pete Reed is paralysed in his lower body after suffering a spinal stroke.
The retired rower, now 38, won gold medals at three consecutive Games; Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.
He was training for Tokyo 2020 but Reed, one of Team GB’s most successful rowers ever, retired from the sport in April 2018.
And, in an Instagram post, he revealed the extent of the damage - saying there was a ‘very small’ chance he would make either a full recovery or no recovery at all.
“Today is #WorldStrokeDay so I thought I would update you on my current situation,” he wrote on Instagram. ”Prognosis: there is no crystal ball. There is a very small chance I will make no recovery and a very small chance I will make a full recovery.
“Much more likely it will be somewhere in between. To what extent depends on the extent of the damage (which we can’t see) and how well I rehab.
“All the other news is great. My arms are still strong and my brain is still as average as it ever was. My personal support network continues to be bombproof (thank you so much) and I am handling myself every bit as well as you would hope. I’m keeping a diary of this whole experience - the ups, downs, challenges, triumphs.”
Reed - who also won gold at five World Rowing Championships - called spinal strokes, which can cause the paralysis by starving the spinal cord of oxygen, ‘very rare’. He added doctors ‘cannot be certain’ of what caused the stroke.
The post added: “I’ll keep odd posts coming. Until then, enjoy the rugby (if you’re going to spend a prolonged period in hospital, it may as well be during the 2019 Rugby World Cup). Onwards.
“Thank you for all the comments on my last post. Thanks also to all of you who have offered to help... right now I don’t even know what to ask for. I feel like I have everything I need at this stage.”
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