SYDNEY — Former swimming superstar Ian Thorpe is in intensive care after being treated for a serious infection, and may not be able to swim competitvely again, according to his manager James Erskine.
The 31-year-old is said to be in a Sydney hospital, having returned to Australia after contracting the infection following a series of shoulder surgeries at a hospital near his home in the Swiss town of Ronco sopra Ascona.
Thorpe’s friends told Australia’s Network Seven that his condition is so serious, they fear he may lose the use of his left arm, but Erskine denied this.
The five-time Olympic gold medallist’s father revealed earlier this year that the swimmer was battling depression and struggling to cope with life after retiring from competitive swimming in late 2006.
In February, he reportedly attempted to break into a van. It is claimed that Thorpe was taking anti-depressants and several other medicines to treat a shoulder injury at the time. He was sent for medical assessment to Bankstown Hospital and then entered rehab.
The swimmer won three gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and two more at the 2004 Athens Games. A four-time World Swimmer of the Year, he made an ill-fated attempt to compete at the 2012 London Olympics. His troublesome shoulder has often been cited as an obstacle to his bids to make an international comeback. AGENCIES