Geoff Neal has opened up about a life-threatening infection that put him in the intensive care unit for almost a week.
Neal (13-2 MMA, 5-0 UFC) suspects it was meningitis, but he still doesn’t know exactly what happened. After news that he was forced out of his Aug. 29 bout vs. Neil Magny, Neal took to social media to post a picture of himself in the hospital.
Neal was brief in his explanation of what happened – although was clear that he “almost died” – but has provided some frightening details.
“Long story short, because I was sick for a minute, it was like a five-day process before I even actually got admitted to the ICU,” Neal told MMA Junkie. “Pretty much I had an infection. It’s still really unknown what caused it, but the infection got in my blood stream and then I went into a septic shock. That’s what almost sent me over the edge.”
Neal tested positive for COVID-19 in June but was certain the symptoms he suffered were a lot worse. It took him days to figure out there was a much larger problem that he needed to urgently seek help for.
“It started off, I don’t know what date, but it was like a Wednesday, and it was just a headache,” Neal explained. “A headache and then my neck was kinda stiff, and then I went to see a physical therapist from the team, and he just thought it was just a stress-induced headache or like a tension headache, and (he said) my neck’s tight, that’s what’s causing it. But then the next day, I woke up with a 104 fever and then from there I started getting diarrhea, started throwing up, the headache got worse to the point where I couldn’t even get out of bed.
“I didn’t want to get out of bed because it would hurt that bad, and then I was dehydrated, and it got to the point where I couldn’t even drink water to hydrate myself because any time I’d drink water, I’d throw right up. So by the final day, I went to like a care now, and I was willing to pay for an IV because I couldn’t drink water, and then they hooked me up, and they see my blood pressure like dangerously low, so that’s when they sent me over to the ICU.”
Neal currently is awaiting medical clearance, and while he’s chomping at the bit to return to training, he was advised to take things slow. He hopes he can return to a full bill of health and compete before the end of 2020.
“They want me to take things easy,” Neal said. “My body went through a lot. My body, all my organs, my heart. Once I get cleared, I got a couple of appointments next week. I’m going to get cleared, and once I get cleared, I’m going to start off with like light workouts and stuff, but I’m not gonna hit it hard right off the jump. I’m gonna slowly get back into it.”
He continued, “I don’t know. I really want to get back in it. Once I’m cleared, and I’m in the gym, back to the level I was at, then I can – I feel like I can get back before then. I really want to fight before the end of the year. I don’t want to wait a whole (expletive) year before I get to fight. I’m going to try and recover as quick as I can the healthy way and get back in there.”