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Triple Olympic champion Pete Reed has been left partially paralysed after suffering a stroke

Olympic hero Pete Reed, who won three rowing golds for Great Britain over eight years, reveals he is paralysed from the chest down after suffering rare spinal stroke

  • Olympic rowing champion Pete Reed has revealed some serious health new 
  • The 38-year-old suffered a freak, and very rare, spinal stroke recently 
  • Reed has been left paralysed from the chest down as a result of the illness
  • Speaking to fans, Reed admitted there is a ‘small chance’ of making full recovery 
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Decorated Olympian Pete Reed has revealed the heartbreaking news this week that he has been left paralysed from the chest down, after suffering a very rare spinal stroke.

The Triple Olympic rowing champion took to social media site Instagram on Wednesday to confirm the severity of his situation, after taking a break away from the platform.

Reed was frank with his friends and supporters in the message, and admitted there is a ‘very small chance’ he will make a full recovery.

Triple Olympic champion Pete Reed has been left partially paralysed after suffering a stroke

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Triple Olympic champion Pete Reed has been left partially paralysed after suffering a stroke

Reed had taken to social media to inform fans of the spinal stroke during a short video clip

Reed had taken to social media to inform fans of the spinal stroke during a short video clip

Reed had taken to social media to inform fans of the spinal stroke during a short video clip

The 38-year-old won gold in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016, and had been in training for next year’s Tokyo games before calling time on his career.

Reed initially broke the news of the spinal stroke in the form of a video in early October, in which he remained incredibly upbeat and stressed he would be taking all the positives from the situation.

The Team GB star also insisted his many years at the elite level of sport would help prepare him mentally for the challenges that lie ahead.

Adding a lengthy caption on a post of himself seated in a wheelchair, Reed wrote: ‘Prognosis: there is no crystal ball. There is a very small chance I will make no recovery and a very small chance I will make a full recovery. 

Reed (far left) became an Olympic hero in 2008 when he surged to gold with GB in Beijing
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Reed (far left) became an Olympic hero in 2008 when he surged to gold with GB in Beijing

Reed (far left) became an Olympic hero in 2008 when he surged to gold with GB in Beijing

Reed, alongside Andrew Triggs Hodge, Alex Gregory and Tom James then triumphed in London to win gold on home soil and become national icons

Reed, alongside Andrew Triggs Hodge, Alex Gregory and Tom James then triumphed in London to win gold on home soil and become national icons

Reed, alongside Andrew Triggs Hodge, Alex Gregory and Tom James then triumphed in London to win gold on home soil and become national icons

The winning run continued at Rio 2016 as Reed and his team-mates again took gold

The winning run continued at Rio 2016 as Reed and his team-mates again took gold

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The winning run continued at Rio 2016 as Reed and his team-mates again took gold

‘Much more likely it will be somewhere in between. To what extent depends on the extent of the damage (which we can’t see) and how well I rehab.’

Keeping his spirits high and his sense of humour sharp, Reed added: ‘All the other news is great. My arms are still strong and my brain is still as average as it ever was.

‘My personal support network continues to be bombproof (thank you so much) and I am handling myself every bit as well as you would hope.

‘I’m keeping a diary of this whole experience – the ups, downs, challenges, triumphs.’

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A spinal stroke, also called a spinal cord stroke, occurs when the blood supply to the cord is cut off and vital oxygen and nutrients cannot be provided as a result. 

The spinal cord is part of the central nervous system (CNS), which also includes the brain. The tissues of the spinal cord may be damaged and not be able to send nerve impulses, or messages, to the rest of your body. 

These nerve impulses are vital for controlling activities of the body, such as moving the arms and legs, and allowing your organs to work properly. 

A spinal stroke however is different than a stroke that affects the brain. In a brain stroke, the blood supply to the brain is cut off. Spinal strokes are much less common than strokes that affect the brain, accounting for less than two percent of all strokes. 

‘Doctors can’t be certain what caused my stroke,’ Reed added. ‘It was in the middle of my spine so I’m currently paralysed beneath my chest.

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Keeping in a positive and humorous mindset, Reed posted an image of a disabled shower on Wednesday, telling his followers: ‘You see a disabled shower… I see a tricep dip rack, and a shower.’