The agent for five-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe says the 31-year-old will never swim again after contracting two potentially-deadly infections while undergoing shoulder surgery.
James Erskine said on Tuesday that Thorpe was “quite sick” in the intensive care ward of a Sydney hospital but dismissed media reports the swimmer might lose the use of his left arm.
Erskine said that Thorpe’s condition was “serious but not life-threatening. He’s contracted two forms of bugs in hospital. He’s undergone two or three operations over the last two months so … I mean bad luck. He’s quite sick but that’s the situation.”
Erskine said Thorpe contracted the infections during a series of surgeries on his shoulder at a clinic near his home in the Swiss town of Ronco sopra Ascona.
“From a competitive point of view he will not be swimming competitively again I don’t think,” Erskine said. “The shoulder operation was a major operation, he’s got as many plates as Barry Sheene (the now deceased world champion motorcycle rider).”
In February, Thorpe’s father revealed the swimmer is battling depression. The revelation followed an incident in which police were called when Thorpe was found in a disoriented state in a street near his parent’s Sydney home.
He was taken to hospital for medical assessment and was found to have taken a combination of antidepressants and medication for his shoulder injury.
Thorpe has since entered a rehabilitation program.