Schalk Burger received the Comeback of the Year award at the Laureus Sports Awards in Shanghai on Wednesday.
The award is given to a sportsperson who made a return to sport after he/she overcame an injury, illness or any disappointment.
Burger fought through injuries and life-threatening meningitis to return to the Springbok side in 2014. Having gone to hospital to have a cyst removed from his spinal chord, he developed bacterial meningitis and was moved into intensive care.
'There was a critical stage for nearly five days in which there was a lot of uncertainty. I was in isolation and I was seriously ill, so ill in fact that some people around me thought “this is it”,' said Burger.
However, the flanker made a remarkable recovery and returned to the Bok squad ahead of the Rugby Championship, before playing a key role for the Boks during the end-of-year tour, where he was named Man of the Match in the victory over England at Twickenham.
Other nominees for the award included Italian footballer Francesco Acerbi, French snowboarder Pierre Vaultier, British long-distance runner Jo Pavey, English golfer Oliver Wilson and Argentinian footballer Diego Milito.
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