Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Cried like a Baby as Excruciating Pain. I; Eagles Coach Speaks Openly about the Illness and Injury Problems

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Cried like a Baby as Excruciating Pain. I; Eagles Coach Speaks Openly about the Illness and Injury Problems

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN GIBSON

BASKETBALL'S most decorated warrior has endured a season from hell in his relentless pursuit of trophies on behalf of the Newcastle Eagles.

Fab Flournoy has undergone a hernia operation which was disastrously complicated by infection, injuries to both knees, an elbow problem that needed a regular steroid injections, and finally a deadly mystery illness that baffled doctors before it was eventually diagnosed as pneumonia.

That was the wrecking ball that still scars his recovery. But, in an amazingly frank interview stretching over two hours, Fab bared his soul without any apparent fear of ridicule or discomfort.

"I honestly thought I was going to die," he told me. "I was coughing blood, vomiting, and in so much excruciating pain. It was like someone was standing over me stabbing me with a knife. I was literally reduced to tears, crying like a baby. I was prepared for the worst."

Looking back on his darkest days, Flournoy revealed in intimate detail his pain and innermost fears.

He was rushed from his city centre flat into the Royal Victoria Infirmary at midnight, released, and then dramatically returned at 12 noon the following day with pain that was 100 times worse.

"The doctors who had released me were still there at the end of their shift and they realised I was in a bad way," Fab told me. "They had initially thought it was nothing more than a chest infection, but this was obviously different. However, no one knew exactly what was wrong with me.

"After hours upon hours of tests no one could tell me a thing. I had no answers, and the pain was so bad that I was actually crying. I've never done that in my life, but the tears flowed.

"There I was, a professional athlete who didn't get sick - injured, yes, but not ill - and the pain was unbearable and getting worse. They had to keep pumping me full of morphine. …

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