Viral meningitis strikes footballer

19th October 2018

The news that Bristol City goalkeeper Frank Fielding has been signed off sick with viral meningitis is a good reminder of how important it is that we take the viral version of the disease seriously

Frank Fielding viral meningitis blog

*Photo courtesy of Bristol City FC

While people understandably mostly fear the potentially deadly bacterial version of meningitis, the public should be aware that viral meningitis can also have a serious and possibly long-lasting impact on their life. 

Although most will make a full recovery, the process can be slow and some can be left with serious and life-changing after-effects. This can include headaches, exhaustion and memory loss - all problems that can make returning to work, whether that to be an office or a football field, a prolonged and difficult experience. 

Meningitis Now CEO Dr Tom Nutt said, “Sometimes we underestimate how serious viral meningitis can be, but we want to banish the misconception that it is “mild” and not dangerous."

“We are also keen to remind people that it doesn’t only affect babies and children – if a healthy sportsman like Frank Fielding can get it then so can anyone."

“Although viral meningitis is rarely life-threatening it is often life-changing and the recovery period can be a long and often difficult process."

“We wish Frank Fielding well and hope he will soon be fit enough to return to playing at Bristol City”.

The signs and symptoms of viral meningitis can be similar to bacterial meningitis and include severe headaches, dislike of bright lights (photophobia), neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, confusion and drowsiness, loss of consciousness and convulsions/seizures. 

Tom added, “We urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the symptoms, trust their instincts and get urgent medical help if concerned. Doing this could save yours or a loved one’s life.”

Without vaccines for all strains of meningitis, knowing the symptoms is the best form of defence. Download Meningitis Now’s free symptoms apps or request a credit-card sized symptoms card.

Anyone affected by the disease or who has concerns can contact our free Helpline on 0808 80 10 388 for information on our free support services.

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