Comrades aches and pains

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Durban - One man is still in a coma in a local hospital after he was diagnosed with possible over-hydration after the Comrades. His condition was improving, but he was still in the high care section at the St Augustine Hospital on Friday.

"He is one of about 50 people who had to be treated in hospitals in Pietermaritzburg and Durban," said Dr Jeremy Boulter, medical officer for the Comrades.

About 230 people received medical attention in the medical tent in Durban at Kingsmead Stadium. Boulter said the race had been completed without too many serious problems.

Some of the medical cases resulted from people who had started the race with symptoms of flu. Three people were suspected of having suffered over-hydration.

This refers to a rare condition which arises when athletes drink too many fluids or the kidneys secrete it too slowly.

Boulter said a patient would look as exhausted as any other athlete. However, the condition might cause water around the lungs or the person might even loose consciousness or incur a swelling on the brain.

Among the athletes admitted to St Augustine Hospital, there were two who came in for medical advice ahead of the race. One athlete ran into a pole in the dark and had to receive stitches.

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