Ex-taekwondo champ catches mystery infection that made leg ‘explode’

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A former taekwondo world champion had to have his leg amputated after he contracted an infection that made his limb "explode".

Dave Mears, 58, who was crowned taekwondo champion at the World Martial Arts Championships in 1984, flew home in April 2020 after work dried up in the pandemic.

He set up home in Stamford, Lincolshire, and lived an ordinary life until March 5, when he developed flu-like symptoms and a sky-high temperature.

Mears said this came hours after his AstraZeneca vaccine jab before getting worse over the month. He fears it could be linked, however doctors insist the cause is not known.

Dave called his GP who came to his home, "went ballistic," and immediately called 999.

A team from Peterborough City Hospital took one look at his limb and rushed him to hospital for a two-day stint before being transferred to Cambridge's Addenbrooke's Hospital.

It was here that Dave's plight came to a gruesome head as his "leg exploded," sending "blood everywhere."

The 58-year-old said: "There was blood everywhere. It was terrifying. I had the operation and they amputated the leg and I lost five units of blood.

“It was pretty serious and I was very poorly after that."

He added: "I just find it strange that I became ill for weeks on the night of the vaccine which has resulted in me losing my leg.

“I think it has got to be linked. It has put me off having the second one. The doctors say it’s hard to prove that it’s linked to the Covid jab and that the infection could have been there for some time, but I don't think its a coincidence."

Doctors told Dave they'd have to operate immediately and initially said to him that he "might lose a couple of toes".

Gradually, the medical team informed him that his infection had gone "so deep into the bone" they would have to chop below the knee.

He said: "At first the doctors thought I might lose a couple of toes, then it was half my foot and then finally it was I'm afraid you’re going to lose your leg.

"The infection has gone deep into the bones so they took no chances and amputated just below the knee."

  • Under-40s will be offered different Covid vaccine to AstraZeneca over rare blood clots

Recently MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine said: "Our position remains that the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca against COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, continues to outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people.

"The balance of benefits and risks is very favourable for older people but is more finely balanced for younger people and we advise that this evolving evidence should be taken into account when considering the use of the vaccine, as JVCI has done."

A GoFundMe page has since been set up for the former star to help with his recovery once he is discharged from hospital.

The crowdfunding campaign has so far raised £4,150, and Dave vows to return to the sport he loves.

He said: "I'm determined to battle back from this.

"I know I have a long way to go but I want to eventually go back into taekwondo, albeit in a milder way, doing displays and demonstrations.

"But it's a long process with lots of physiotherapy. I’m positive now but I was not happy with how it happened."

  • Coronavirus

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