Golfer survives Covid coma and celebrates with a hole-in-one

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George Whitehurst, 62, tested positive for Covid after being admitted to the Royal Stoke University Hospital for an operation on May 18. His critical condition meant he was placed in a coma in intensive care.

Mr Whitehurst recalled the moment he woke up three weeks after being admitted: “There was a surgeon at the bottom of my bed and the first thing he said was ‘I didn’t expect to see you again’, which was nice but a bit of a shock.

“I don’t know exactly what went on when I was in hospital. But I do know my wife Tracy had two calls from the hospital to basically prepare her to come up and say goodbye.

“There are things that have happened to me which I don’t know about and I don’t want to know about. It’s all history now, I’m looking forward to a very healthy next 20 or 30 years.”

Three months later, Mr Whitehurst was discharged from hospital on August 26 and is still suffering from the impact of Long Covid.

He told the Stoke Sentinel: “The physios got me up and walking and I was discharged on August 26. I could walk 20 yards with a zimmer frame – but on August 4 I couldn’t walk at all, my legs just weren’t doing anything. My brain was telling the legs to move and the legs just weren’t having it. The physios were absolutely fantastic.

“I’ve been having physio once a week since coming out of hospital and they’ve been absolutely fantastic. They’ve got me more or less back to where I want to be. It’s just the effects of Long Covid, it’s my stamina.

“I can walk 500 yards some days and be absolutely shattered, and then other days I can walk a mile and then when I get back home all I do is sleep.”

George began walking around Trentham Park Golf Club for exercise during lockdown three. He said: “I have been trying to get fit again and had been walking round the course while it was shut.

“Last Monday was the first day I played golf. Me and a couple of friends teed off at about 4pm and I was playing mediocre and getting a bit tired.

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“But when I got to the 15th hole, at par three, I just took the shot and we knew it was close. Then when we got to the green there it was in the hole for a hole-in-one.

“Having been poorly for the best part of 17 months I haven’t really played golf in that time so it was quite remarkable actually.

“It’s every golfer’s dream to have a hole-in-one, and when you put the hole-in-one on top of what I’ve been through, it’s absolutely amazing. There’s a lot of luck involved.”

Additional reporting by Kit Roberts.

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