Former England footballer, Gary Mabbutt, has spoken how a loss of feeling in his feet allowed a rat to bite his foot whilst on holiday.
The rare and very unfortunate event happened whilst Gary, who has had type 1 diabetes for 40 years, was on holiday at Kruger National Park in South Africa.
The 57-year-old football star failed to wake during the ordeal because of reduced feeling in his feet. Loss of feeling in the feet is a relatively common condition in people who have lived with type 1 diabetes for 40 or more years.
Loss of feeling occurs as a result of nerve damage, neuropathy, which can develop from higher than normal blood sugar levels over many years. Keeping sugar levels in a healthy range helps to reduce the risk of neuropathy occurring.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live the 16-cap England international, said: “Unfortunately, due to the injuries through my career and some diabetes – I have very little feeling in my feet.
“I’ve gone to sleep and during the night a rat has come into the bedroom, climbed into the bed and has decided to chew on my foot.”
He immediately flew back to the UK for emergency surgery. Six weeks o, Gary still needs to visit the hospital every day to receive an intravenous drip to continue to get rid of the infection.
Despite having the episode, Gary still managed to joke about the incident, saying: “The rat had had a nice meal and I hadn’t been able to feel it. All the opponents that I’ve played against and I finally get taken out by a rat.”
The star, who started out playing for Bristol Rovers, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 17 and was told he would probably never be able to play football professionally. Despite that, he became one of the best defenders and defensive midfielders in English football in the 1980s.
During his 16-year spell at Tottenham Hotspur, he won the UEFA cup in 1984 and captained his team to FA Cup victory in 1991.

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