Tuesday 20 August 2019

Iwan Thomas: I wanted to swap places with my son as he fought to survive

His baby Teddy was born with a potentially fatal condition.

Iwan Thomas (Ian West/PA)
Iwan Thomas (Ian West/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Athletics champion Iwan Thomas has said he wanted to swap places with his baby son as he watched him battle for survival.

His baby Teddy, now five months, was diagnosed with Group B Strep after he was born, an infection caused by streptococcal bacteria, which can lead to meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, and spent the first 10 days of his life in intensive care.

He told Hello! magazine: “When I saw him covered in tubes, I wanted to swap places with him. I’m not religious, but I was saying: ‘Please God, take me instead’.

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Iwan Thomas and Teddy (Hello)

“If the infection had spread, we knew that even if Teddy survived, he could be brain damaged.

“For my partner’s sake, I put on a tough facade but inside I was crumbling.”

The sprinter said that Teddy has now pulled through and having a child has changed him forever.

He added: “He’s made me a better person. As a sportsman, I led a selfish life. But having him is the best thing I’ve ever done.

“For the rest of my life on this planet, I’m dedicated to him and being the best dad I can.”

Thomas, also revealed that he spoke about the depression he suffered after his running career was blighted by injury with the Duke of Sussex as they flipped burgers together at Kensington Palace in 2016 for the mental health initiative Heads Together.

He said: “He’s such a lovely guy, and before I knew it, I was telling him what I’d gone through. We’ve both had problems and now we’re both new dads.

“I reckon he’s an amazing hands-on dad; he’d definitely want to get stuck in to help with baby Archie, changing nappies and at bath and bedtime.”

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(Hello)

The full interview is in Hello!, out now.

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