Australian MMA Fighter Battles Life-Threatening Infection in Thailand

28-year-old Australian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, Tim Schultz, faces an unexpected and potentially career-ending turn of events.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Australian MMA Fighter Battles Life-Threatening Infection in Thailand

28-year-old Australian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, Tim Schultz, faces an unexpected and potentially career-ending turn of events. Schultz travelled to Thailand, a destination popular amongst many MMA fighters for their training, hoping to expand his skill set by experiencing different training clubs.

But the pursuit of his dream took a frightening detour due to a severe staph infection, a common issue in Thailand where hygiene standards often fall short. Injuries in this contact sport are not uncommon. However, after returning from a hike, Schultz experienced severe pain in his shin, far beyond the typical "bumps and bruises" of training, explained his manager, Mr Lee-Manwar.

Suspecting a small bone fragment or deep bruising, Schultz sought medical attention and received a cortisone injection.

A Downward Spiral into a Medical Nightmare

The following day, a disturbing scenario unfolded.

Schultz collapsed while attempting to get out of bed. His foot and shin had swollen to an alarming degree, necessitating immediate hospitalization. The situation grew even direr when the first round of antibiotics failed to tackle the infection.

Schultz was advised to amputate his leg at the Thai hospital, a shocking proposition for a professional athlete. Seeking a second opinion, he was transferred to another hospital, where he remains a week later. Schultz now confronts the unthinkable prospect of losing his leg, a grim outcome borne from his passion for MMA.

The surgical intervention, too, took a traumatic turn. Schultz had his leg drilled into and drained at three different locations. This was a stark contrast from the initial promise of a small incision. "He ended up waking up during surgery, feeling all the pain as they removed all the skin from the top of his foot and lower shin.

He was very shocked," recounts Mr Lee-Manwar. While Schultz's foot shows some improvement, the nightmare is far from over. The infection, identified as necrotizing fasciitis—a deadly disease that ravages subcutaneous tissue—has begun to spread towards his knee.

Schultz, with his dream and physical well-being hanging in the balance, shared his harrowing journey on Instagram through a disturbing video. His last match, which saw his fourth professional victory, seems a world away. Today, the focus has shifted from victories in the cage to a crucial battle for his health and, ultimately, his leg.

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