Solomzi Nqweni has seen his promising cricket career halted by a succession of health struggles, but the latest hurdle, testing positive for COVID-19, didn’t keep him down for long.
Nqweni is still in the midst of a long recovery programme after he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome after falling ill while playing club cricket in Scotland last year.
Nqweni beats COVID-19
He spent months in a UK hospital before a crowdfunding campaign was able to raise the money for a safe medivac.
Nqweni had endured setbacks in his recovery before but when he tested positive for COVID-19, there were fears for the cricketer’s life let alone his career.
He is still unsure where he picked up the virus given that he spent all his time either at home, rehab or the pharmacy. He feels it is possible that he might have contracted the virus while getting treatment at the rehabilitation centre.
Nqweni describes his experience with COVID-19 to Times Live: “Week one, I thought I had issues with the machine, where my temperature was high.
“I’d drink cold water, from where my temperature would go down after waiting 10-15 minutes. That’s the first weird thing I’d noticed, but I didn’t have flu-like symptoms.
“The next week, I was very ill. I couldn’t go to therapy for the whole week. I couldn’t move out of bed, had nosebleeds, headaches and my eyes were sore. I had a rash that came from the inside and mouth ulcers. I wanted to go back to therapy after the second week, but I didn’t think I had COVID-19 because we were treating it with over-the-counter and I’ve never had flu since I had GBS.
“I went for a test the next week when the symptoms hadn’t vanished, but they were mild. I tested positive and had to quarantine.”
The biggest test
Nqweni has past experience of breathing with the aid of a ventilator and said he was keen to avoid a repeat of the experience.
“That one week and a half, I was very sick and I’m thankful the disease didn’t spread into my lungs, which is when it becomes dangerous. That’s when people go onto ventilators and when they do so, I think only two per cent of people who get onto ventilators survive,” Nqweni said.
“I was anxious about that because I’d been on a ventilator before because of GBS and it wasn’t nice. Having GBS made me more anxious of what could happen when things go wrong.”
The 26-year-old allrounder was pressing for a regular place in the franchise cricket set-up in the Eastern Cape with his efforts in the semi-pro game when GBS put cricket on hold. He still hopes to get back to the game and play at the highest level.