Man running the Comrades again after freak injury

2018-05-31 16:44
An x-ray image showing Daniel de Wet, who was impaled by an extended crowbar. (Inset) Daniel de Wet running a Comrades Marathon before his accident.

An x-ray image showing Daniel de Wet, who was impaled by an extended crowbar. (Inset) Daniel de Wet running a Comrades Marathon before his accident. (Supplied)

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When Daniel de Wet regained consciousness in hospital after a 1,8-metre metal industrial crowbar penetrated his body during a mining accident, he never imagined that he would be able to take part in the Comrades Marathon again.

In January 2015, engineering supervisor De Wet was working on washing out a dam 3,5 km underground at a mine in Carletonville, Gauteng, using an extended crowbar to stir up the mud, when he suddenly slipped. When De Wet looked down he saw that the metal bar had penetrated his body, entering his groin area and coming out of his back, just below his shoulder blade.

The father of three young children recalled how the mine’s rescue team had to carry him perched awkwardly in a sitting position on a stretcher, as the metal bar protruded from his body.

“I was talking the whole time, trying to keep the other guys calm,” he said.

De Wet was airlifted to Netcare Milpark Hospital.

Once the extended crowbar was pulled completely free of De Wet’s body, the doctors saw that the impalement had caused significant damage, destroying one kidney and damaging his small bowel and numerous blood vessels. Although De Wet lost a kidney, he made rapid progress and was discharged from hospital just 19 days later.

He later presented the 1,8 metre metal rod as a token of his appreciation to Professor Ken Boffard, the current secretary-general of the International Society of Surgery and Netcare Milpark Hospital.

“Just three-and-a-half years ago, my wife and colleagues were praying for my survival, and when I was able to walk out of the hospital only 19 days later, we regarded it as a miracle from God. To think that I have now successfully qualified to take on the Comrades Marathon once more is truly remarkable and every day I am so grateful for the recovery I have made,” De Wet said.

De Wet said his injury had taken its toll on his wife, Liezl, but “she proved to be stronger than I had imagined and was very supportive”.

“I remember telling her that I wanted to run Comrades again; she looked at me with big eyes and said she would not allow it until it was approved by the doctor,” he laughed.

Daniel de Wet and his wife Liezl on day 15 of his 19-day recovery at Netcare Milpark Hospital. De Wet was impaled by a metal industrial crowbar while working at a gold mine near Carletonville, Gauteng.

He said that his wife will be standing on the sidelines supporting him and wearing a T-shirt saying: #DarlingComrades2018.

De Wet said before his accident he ran the Comrades Marathon six times, and during his initial recovery after the accident he thought he would never be able to take part in this “gruelling ultra marathon ever again”.

On June 10, De Wet will be taking on the down run of this year’s Comrades Marathon with his running club, the Carlton Harriers, wearing race number 49470.

De Wet acknowledged that the ultra marathon would be a challenge but said he was hopeful that he would complete the race within the allotted 12 hours.

“I am fortunate to have an amazing support base, particularly my wife, and there are so many people encouraging me. I have many friends and guys who run with me, and they have helped me through the difficult times.

“I still feel blessed every single day to be alive and when people say I am a miracle, to me it feels like they appreciate that I had survived. It also gives other people who have also been involved in accidents hope.”

De Wet dedicated his run to every single rescue worker, paramedic, firefighter, and especially to Netcare 911, Netcare Milpark Hospital and to trauma surgeon Professor Kenneth Boffard.

Read more on:    comrades marathon

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