Georgia head coach Levan Maisashvili says his family was told that he had less than a 2% chance of survival after he was put into an induced coma during his battle with Covid-19.
Maisashvili was in a critical condition after contracting the coronavirus following the Test between the Springboks and Georgia in Pretoria on 2 July.
A Covid-19 outbreak in both camps led to the cancellation of the second Test between the teams, scheduled to take place at Ellis Park on 9 July.
Maisashvili was among those affected and was placed on a ventilator in a Johannesburg hospital. Despite suffering damage to his lungs, he has recovered from the virus and was able to return home in September.
Speaking to the Telegraph, the 45-year-old said he remembered little of his time in the intensive care unit at the Netcare Milpark Hospital, but his recovery after waking up was incredibly difficult.
“My doctors told me afterwards that my lungs were absolutely paralysed and infected with bacteria. All of my body was under pressure, but I remember nothing. It was much harder when I woke up,’ he said.
“I’d had a tracheostomy. I had something in my nose. It was hell for me. The first time I stood up, I made one step forward and one step back. After that, I needed half an hour in my chair.
“I was like a fish on the land. It was so, so, so difficult. But everything is in the past.
“I was 85 kilos [13st 5lbs],” he added. “When I was woken up, I was between 60 and 62 kilos. I did not recognise my legs. They were bone and skin.”
Maisashvili said that while he still feels a bit weak, returning to the training ground and coaching again will help accelerate his recovery.
Photo: Georgia Rugby