A FOOTBALL star has revealed that a rat ate his foot while he was sleeping – and he couldn’t feel it because of diabetes.
Gary Mabbutt, former Tottenham Hotspur Captain, was in Kruger National Park in South Africa when the horrifying incident took place.
He told how he woke up to find his bed covered in blood after the rodent chewed through his toe and the underneath of his foot.
The 57-year-old was travelling with his daughter, a veterinary student at the University of Cambridge, when he woke up to discover a hole in his big toe.
The England defender, who has a host of past football related injuries and type-1 diabetes, had to be flown home for emergency surgery six weeks ago.
Speaking to Radio Five Live last night (SUN), Mabbutt told host Peter Allen the rat incident was why he couldn’t make the radio interview in person.
Mabbutt told the Radio host “My daughter is at Cambridge University studying Veterinary Medicine and during the recess they have to do placements.
“I got a placement in South Africa in the Kruger Park. So I escorted her out there and we were staying in a thatched house about 16 miles from the nearest town.
“Unfortunately, due to the injuries through my career and some diabetes – I have very little feeling in my feet.
“So I’ve gone to sleep and during the night a rat has come has into the bedroom, climbed into the bed and decided to chew on my foot.”
He added: “It made quite a big hole in my toe going down to the bone and ate underneath my foot so it became infected.
“I then got home quite quickly and then I was in hospital for a week and that was about, crickey, about six weeks ago now.”
The rat bite has left Gary visiting hospital every day for two to three hours to be put on intravenous drips to get rid of the infection. The incident has also caused blood clots to form.
He added: “When you think about it all the opponents that I played against I finally get taken out by a rat.
“Firstly it bit my daughter’s thumb in the other bedroom and she came to me and said ‘Dad something’s bitten me’. Of course being in Africa you think of Snakes and scorpions.”
However, the pair realised she was not bitten by a snake or scorpion as she was feeling fine – so she went to clean her thumb before going to bed.
He said: “Literally, an hour later something bit my thumb. I woke up and I couldn’t see a thing and thought – crikey what’s going on?
“I went to get out of bed to go to the bathroom to clean my thumb. Of course, the bed was covered in blood and my foot was covered in blood.
“Unfortunately the rat had a nice meal, I hadn’t been able to feel it and of course I hadn’t woken up.
“It was quite fortunate that there weren’t two rats. Otherwise I might not have woken up and it could have been a lot worse.”
At the age of 17 Mabbutt was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes and was told he may never be able to play football again.
However, he went onto to play for England, captain Tottenham Hotspur and led them to glory winning the 1991 FA Cup.
Last year, Mabbutt successfully underwent an emergency heart bypass after suffering from breathing and chest pains.
The star is now unable to run or play football after undergoing another emergency surgery, which saved his leg after the artery was blocked.