Olympic blow as Sturridge is tested for meningitis

Jul 4, 2012
Bill Mann

Young Chelsea star in St Mary's Paddington after falling ill at weekend with 'severe' aches and pains

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Chelsea have confirmed that striker Daniel Sturridge is recovering from viral meningitis, a less serious form of the disease. The player, who was treated at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, said he was hopeful of being fit to play in the Olympics.

BARELY 24 hours after Stuart Pearce had announced his 18-man Team GB football squad for the Olympics and one of the stars is on the brink of withdrawing.

Daniel Sturridge was taken to London's St Mary's Hospital "after repeatedly vomiting and complaining of severe aches and pains", and the BBC reports that the 22-year-old Chelsea striker is undergoing tests for viral meningitis.

If the illness is diagnosed Sturridge will be out of the Olympics and in all probability out of the early part of Chelsea's season. "We still have some time to assess the situation and wait for the results of Daniel Sturridge's tests," a British Olympic Association spokesman told The Sun when asked about the striker's place in the GB squad.

Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo is expected to issue a statement on Sturridge's condition at a press conference later today when more details are known.

Apparently the young striker, who scored 13 goals last season, first informed the club's medical team that he felt unwell at the weekend and they were sufficiently concerned by his symptoms to take him to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington. "The family have obviously been very concerned and worried," a family friend told the Sun. "Thankfully he's been feeling a little bit better over the last 24 hours and everyone is hoping that's a positive sign."

Bacterial meningitis is the strain of the illness considered most dangerous but as Sue Davie, chief executive of the Meningitis Trust, told Sky News: "If it's viral meningitis it's a less severe form, although it can be very debilitating… it can't be treated with antibiotics very much. It's about resting and getting proper care in hospital, being looked after well and making a full recovery."

While Pearce's immediate concern was for the welfare of Sturridge, his withdrawal, if it comes to that, will undoubtedly weaken the British squad.  The Chelsea forward, who has two full England caps to his name, is one of the most young exciting talents in the Premier League and it will be hard to find a replacement of his calibre.

One possibility is Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes, while Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha could be called up from the standby list. Team GB play Senegal in their Olympic opener on 26 July before facing United Arab Emirates three days later and Uruguay on 1 August.

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