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Sport legend Matt Dawson reveals he needed heart surgery after contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite

The former English rugby captain is still recovering 18 months after first being infected

Retired English rugby star Matt Dawson has revealed he needed heart surgery following a fight with Lyme disease.

The 44-year-old sportsman fell ill after being bitten by a tick while strolling through a London park in 2016.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can cause problems with joints, the heart, and nervous system – but is treatable, curable, and usually requires a course of antibiotics.

However if untreated, the disease can lead to meningitis or even heart failure.

“I'd heard of Lyme disease before. It was something I'd always associated with places abroad, on the continent, in America, wherever there were deer,” Matt told The Telegraph.

"There's no way that I would've walked through a wood or a forest with my kids and gone back home and thought, 'right, I'll just check for some ticks just to make sure everything is fine'. I just wouldn't have thought of that,” he explained.

"It was a really scary time for me and my family. Such a tiny creature caused me to end up needing heart surgery," he added.

Find the complete article written by Seamus Duff here.


May 8, 2022

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Of all the creepy crawlers, ticks keep me on high alert. They can be very tiny in the nymph stage and difficult to see. They love to hang out in tall grasses along the trail and hitch a ride on hikers passing by. I plan on treating most of my clothes and gear with Sawyer Permethrin.

Joanne Gigliotti


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I would often just drink directly from the sawyer squeeze if I was feeling lazy- which by the way works wonderfully.

Rachel McVittie