Babbel contracts Guillan-Barre Syndrome

MARKUS BABBEL reveals his fear at being paralysed after contracting the nervous system virus Guillan-Barre Syndrome.

The Liverpool defender was unable to use his limbs after picking up the virus which can paralyse victims and, in extreme cases, be fatal.

“I first felt a numbness in my feet four weeks ago. Later they felt like I had been running through snow and I was thawing them out in the warm. All of a sudden I felt much worse and I was unable to lift my legs. When I came to the hospital for tests doctors decided straight away to keep me in. I was given injections for five days and the symptoms of paralysis in my legs finally stopped. Right now I can only take a couple of steps - and that is with someone else helping me. My hands were affected too. I barely had any feeling in them.”

Babbel is recuperating from GBS, a virus that kept Celtic midfielder Morten Wieghorst out of action for a year, in his native Munich and is expected to be sidelined for a minimum of three months. At least I am now able to eat and use the telephone independently. The doctor told me I have a good chance of becoming completely healthy again. But I will remain in Munich for several more weeks.”

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)?

Guillain-Barré (Ghee-yan Bah-ray) Syndrome, also called acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and Landry's ascending paralysis, is an inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves, those outside the brain and spinal cord. It is characterized by the rapid onset of weakness and often, paralysis of the legs, arms, breathing muscles and face. Abnormal sensations often accompany the weakness.

Many patients require an intensive care unit during the early course of their illness, especially if support of breathing with a machine is required. Although most people recover, this can take months, and some may have long term disabilities of varying degrees. Less than 5 percent die.

Published 2001

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