South African swimmer Achmat Hassiem, a three-time Paralympian, is in a coma after undergoing surgery, an alumni page for his high school announced on Facebook.
According to News24, it’s a medically induced coma due to complications from surgery on his back and shoulder.
“As a school we are proud of our Paralympic and Eco Warrior hero, winner of a Bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, and we therefore call on the entire Bergvliet High community to lift him and his family up in your prayers,” school principal Stephen Price said in the post. “He needs our prayers to overcome perhaps his biggest challenge. We believe that the power of prayer will lift him out of the coma so that he can begin his road to recovery.”
Hassiem competed in the S10 100-meter backstroke at the 2008 Paralympic Games, then won a bronze medal in the S10 100 butterfly in 2012. He also competed in the S10 100 and 400 free in Rio before retiring.
Hassiem, 39, is nicknamed “Sharkboy,” as he lost his lower right while saving his brother from a great white shark attack in 2006.