Brendan’s battle to stay alive

Brendan Ingle, right, with boxer Lee Duncan at St Thomas Gym
Brendan Ingle, right, with boxer Lee Duncan at St Thomas Gym
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Boxing trainer Brendan Ingle will leave hospital today after fighting off a rare form of epilepsy that paralysed him for three days.

The 73-year-old was rushed to the Hallamshire Hospital on Wednesday morning with paralysis of his left arm and leg as he displayed all the symptoms of a serious stroke. Doctors began treating him as a stroke victim but at 6am on Friday his family were called to the hospital and told to expect the worst after his condition deteriorated and doctors could not diagnose the problem.

But the man who discovered four world champions began his fightback as doctors realised he had not had a stroke when he moved his left arm as his body was gripped by a seizure.

Generations of boxers coached by Ingle at the legendary St Thomas’s Gym in Wincobank kept a round the clock vigil at his bedside.

His condition remained a mystery and he was treated with powerful antibiotics to ward off any infection until doctors found his symptoms matched a rare form of Epilepsy called Todd’s Paresis* that causes temporary paralysis.

Johnny Nelson, Brian Anderson, Junior Witter, Richard Towers and Barry the Arab were among more than a dozen fighters who sat with him, fed and took care of him as he fought for his life.

“It’s such a relief, we thought we were going to lose him when they called us on Friday morning,” said Alma Ingle, Brendan’s wife of 52 years at their home in Wincobank last night.

“As we were on our way to the hospital we thought they must be trying to resuscitate him.

“We thought he must be close to death and that he might be gone when we got there. They thought it was a stroke until he lifted his left arm when he had another seizure, then they started looking at what else it could be.

“If it had been paralysis caused by a stroke he would not have been able to move his arm at all.”

By Saturday morning when his family arrived to see him the father of five and grandfather to 13 was sitting up in bed eating breakfast.

Brendan’s daughter Bridget paid tribute to the doctors and to the boxers who never left his side.

She said: “After a while the nurses gave up trying to stop all the boxers going in, they took turns to sit with dad. They are like our adopted brothers. They fed him, read to him and took care of him, it was lovely to see them looking after him.

“We are a bit dazed but we’re just so relieved.

“He’s coming home today and after how he was on Friday it’s barely believable he could recover so soon.

“He is expected to make a full recovery.”

Ingle gave a full interview to The Star last Tuesday ahead of Lee Duncan’s fight with Jamie Hughes and was in good form but later that afternoon began to feel ill.

* Todd’s Paresis is named after Robert Bentley Todd (1809–1860), an Irish-born London physiologist who first described the phenomenon in 1849. The condition can be controlled by medication.