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  Apr. 2, 1999



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Spinal infection sidelines Davey Boy
By ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun
Calgary wrestler Davey Boy Smith has been hospitalized in a fight against an undiagnosed spinal infection doctors say will inflict intense pain on his body.

Smith was admitted to the Rockyview Wednesday after tests determined a lump on his back was a bone infection requiring aggressive antibiotics and rest.

"Although it feels like there's a Rambo knife in my back, they tell me I haven't even started feeling the real pain yet -- it's not something I'm looking forward to," said a sedated Smith, 36, with his wife Diana by his side.

"The infection is going through my body right now and the doctor told me I'm in for the long haul. I'm scared because if this infection gets into my spinal column, well, the doctors said they didn't even want to talk about what that would mean."

Smith's family physician, Dr. Ronald Lim, suspects Smith is suffering from a staph infection in his spine, although test results aren't in yet. Lim says the infection isn't life-threatening but could keep him in hospital for at least six weeks.

"He'll feel a lot of pain -- I don't doubt that," said Lim.

"The worst is definitely not yet over but he's getting the proper treatment."

Smith saw two other specialists yesterday who determined his initial antibiotic treatment wasn't working and increased its strength.

"Right now I don't know about surgery -- we'll have to wait and see his response and won't know for a couple of weeks," said Lim.

"It's too early to say if it could threaten his career, but it's safe to say he'll be out four months at the very least."

Smith, known worldwide as the British Bulldog, was sidelined from the World Championship Wrestling circuit following a powerslam on a steel trap door that injured his back six months ago.

Smith's hopes of returning to the ring as early as next month came crashing down Wednesday when his thoughts turned to simply being able to walk.

"Everything has been put on hold with this," said Smith, who hoped to be a commentator at tonight's return of Stampede Wrestling at the Pavilion.

"This is pretty bad but I'm trying not to think about it. I'm scared."

Several months after losing his sister and mother to cancer, Smith got a similar scare recently when doctors ran tests to see if his back pains were linked to the deadly disease. It was determined at that point his ailment was either two crushed discs or an infection.

However, Tuesday night his daughter noticed a large lump on his back that caused his body to seize up.

Doctors have Smith on severe painkillers and antibiotics with hopes of avoiding surgery to remove portions of the infection.

Smith has a history of staph infections, including one that threatened to have his leg amputated in 1992.

Surgery cleared that up and was also needed for a knee injury he suffered just over a year ago breaking up a fist fight between Bret Hart and World Wrestling Federation president Vince McMahon. A year ago he had an infection in his hand that also required surgery.

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