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Olympic gold medalists Chris Mears and Jack Laugher

Gold medallist diver Chris Mears fought 7-hour seizure in 2009

Last night (10 August), Great Britain jumped up the medal table to 9th place after the help of British divers, Chris Mears and Jack Laugher. The pair claimed victory in the men's synchronised 3m springboard for Team GB at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Chris was selected alongside synchro partner, Jack Laugher, to represent Team GB this year. However, Chris has overcome many significant challenges in his 23 years.

Back in 2009, Chris had been competing in the Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney when at breakfast one morning, he collapsed. He was diagnosed with different conditions, however these turned out to be wrong. It was found that Chris had the Epstein Barr Virus, the virus that causes glandular fever as well as a ruptured spleen from performing a dive the day before.

Chris’ condition became so serious he was given a 5% chance of survival after losing five pints of blood. He was told by doctors his chances of diving again were very slim. After having his spleen removed in surgery, Chris remained hospitalised in Sydney until doctors deemed him fit to fly. However, he was later found having a non-epileptic seizure in his hotel bedroom, which continued for 7 hours, leading to a three-day coma.

Despite all this, Chris made a healthy recovery and much to doctors' surprise, slowly made a comeback to diving, performing 8 months later at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India.

In an interview with the Telegraph in 2012, Chris reflected on his dramatic year, saying:

The experience changed me, and so much for the better.

Before the games I was still at school and had other things I was concentrating on, but when this happened I knew what I wanted to do straight away. As soon as I came back to England I said to my coach, 'I want you to make me an Olympic diver’. And my dream has almost come true.

In 2016, Chris and his diving partner Jack Laugher became part of history, achieving the first gold in diving for Team GB.

Take a look at other athletes overcoming life-changing moments

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Cyber EssentialsFundraising RegulatorYoung Epilepsy is the operating name of The National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy (NCYPE).
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