Robert Huth has revealed how he was trapped on a trans-Atlantic flight when the full effects of his meningitis began to take hold.
Huth completed a remarkable recovery from the potentially deadly disease when he played all 90 minutes of Stoke’s gruelling opening day 1-1 English Premier League draw at Reading.
That would have been unthinkable a week earlier after the defender was admitted to hospital with suspected meningitis, spending four nights there having been diagnosed with the milder viral form of the illness.
Huth believes he contracted the disease during the Potters’ pre-season tour of the United States but only really began to suffer on the flight home at the beginning of the month.
“I didn’t feel particularly great while we were out there,” said the 28-year-old Huth.
“On the flight going home, I could feel it getting worse and worse – and 35,000ft up in the sky is not a great place to be when your health is going downhill rapidly.
“When we got home, I had a couple of days off, but it wasn’t getting any better. And when I had a stinking headache and became highly sensitive to light, the club booked me into hospital for tests – and they kept me in for four nights.
“I never gave up hope of being fit for the start of the season but the odds were stacked against me and, if Matty Upson had been fit, I think he would have played instead of me.
“I’ve only trained twice properly since I came out of hospital, so I am pleased to get through the whole 90 minutes on one of the hottest days of the year.”
Former Chelsea defender Huth was the second big-name Premier League player to have been confirmed as having contracted meningitis, with current Stamford Bridge star Daniel Sturridge having also made a swift recovery earlier this summer.
Huth said: “It’s strange how two Premier League players, Daniel Sturridge and myself, have contracted meningitis this summer because you can’t physically pass it on and nobody seems to know for sure how you catch it.
“When you travel around as much as clubs like Chelsea and Stoke, there is always a chance of picking up something nasty and you can frighten yourself if you stop to think about it too much.
“I just thought I had jetlag after flying home from the States – it turned out to be meningitis.
“I don’t know that much about it but I know it can kill you in the worst cases.
“I just know the club’s medical staff reacted decisively and the doctors in hospital were great.
“I spent most of the time asleep on drip feeds and wired up to equipment and, after three days, I began to feel better.”