A GYM buff lost his arm to a deadly flesh devouring disease after his bicep was ripped clean off in a freak weight lifting accident.
Gabriel McKenna-Lieschke, 29, from Adelaide, Australia, woke up to a terrifying shock as he came out of a 10-day coma.
To his horror, as he lay in a hospital bed, he realised that more than half his left arm was missing.
It was just less than two weeks before that the civil engineering student fell victim to a freak accident in the gym that ripped his left bicep clean off from his elbow.
A 50kg weight dropped and left him “screaming” as his muscle completely detached.
Speaking about the stomach-turning moment, Gabriel said: “I basically jumped in the car, drove about 50 metres screaming in pain. I called a friend to come pick me up.
“We called the hospital and they told me having a bicep attached was an elective surgery. Two days later, I got a surgeon.
“I don’t have any recollection of this point, but I do know this is what happened. I had the surgery to reattach it and I wasn’t given any antibiotics, not intravenously or orally.”
His bicep was reattached at hospital, and seemed to be healing just fine, until he claims that the arm went “bright red” and swelled up “more than three times the thickness”.
Gabriel had developed a nasty flesh-eating disease called necrotising fasciitis which rotted away his muscles during the November 2020 incident.
Tragically, he was rushed back into hospital and his family were told to prepare for the worst as he was sedated into a coma.
Doctors were forced to amputate from Gabriel’s forearm down in order to save his life from the deadly disease.
It’s estimated that 1 or 2 in every 5 cases are fatal, the NHS says.
He said: “My dad was calling my friends and family because they’d told him they thought I was going to die, then it was a big surprise to everyone when I pulled through.”
It took three days for Gabriel to even realise his arm had been amputated.
But he has bravely fought back and is now hard at work training for the 2024 Paris Paralympics, just 18 months after his ordeal.
Speaking about his new found purpose, he said: “When I woke up, neither bodybuilding and boxing seemed like they were my sports anymore with one arm, so I decided to reframe my life so I had a passion again. That’s really important.
“I don’t know what made me think of it but I said ‘I want to try track cycling’. I’d never been a cyclist before in my life.”
To partake in track cycling at the Paralympics, Gabriel needs special prosthetics made and biking equipment.
He also needs intensive training to get himself to athlete-level.
Training costs $1,000 a month alone, so he has set up a GoFundMe page to help him achieve his dreams.