Sportscaster ‘nearly died’ of rare disease while at Rio Olympics; out of coma

Charlie Webster, a famous sports presenter in Britain, was brought out of a medically induced coma and communicated with her mother Thursday but is still battling the rare strain of malaria she contracted during a 3,000-mile bike ride to the Rio Olympics, The Guardian reported.

Webster was participating in the Ride to Rio for a cancer charity, cycling over six weeks from London through France, Spain and Portugal before taking a flight to northern Brazil and continuing to cycle to Rio de Janeiro.

A day after attending the Opening Ceremony of the Rio Olympics, the 33-year-old was hospitalized for what she thought was exhaustion and dehydration, but her condition rapidly deteriorated and she was eventually put into an induced coma and onto life support.

Medical specialists from Britain and the U.S. were being consulted over her treatment for the rare strain of malaria that was discovered.

ITV reported that when Webster awakened out of her coma Thursday for the first time in five days, she found her worried mother at her bedside.

 

"Charlotte knows she nearly died, she mouthed to me earlier 'Look at all the machines keeping me alive,'" her mother Joy told The Guardian. "Charlotte is really strong, but as the doctors keep reminding me, everyone heals differently. I am just so thankful that she's able to communicate with us again.

"It's been the worst imaginable time – we have been beside ourselves with worry, but the fact Charlotte is now conscious is amazing. Knowing Charlotte, the thing she'll be most annoyed about is that she's missed the Olympics."

RELATED: Sportscaster in coma with rare disease after 3,000-mile bike ride to Rio Olympics

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On Thursday, doctors said they are "very happy" with her "neurological results" suggesting she has not suffered any brain damage. However they cautioned that her kidneys were "still not responding to treatment and she remains on dialysis."

Webster remains in intensive care and on a respirator. She was taken out of her coma gradually while tests were conducted on her cognitive functions.

An hour or so after having the endotracheal tube removed on Thursday, Webster was able to whisper to her mother. "I can't believe you have been here all week."

Later on she looked at her mother and whispered "Have you been to the beach?"

"Charlie’s family and friends have been incredibly touched by the overwhelming support and love shown to Charlie today," a spokesperson for Webster told the Press Association.

"Their main focus now is for Charlie to be stable enough to fly back to the UK."

Webster, who has worked for Sky Sports, ESPN, BBC and ITV, was in Rio as one of the official presenters for Team GB.

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