After 2-week coma, CT Paralympic swimmer Achmat Hassiem opens his eyes

The Paralympic bronze medallist and shark conservation ambassador has been at a Cape Town hospital for nearly two weeks. He suffered complications after spinal surgery was performed, landing him in an induced coma on life support.

FILE: South Africa's Achmat Hassiem puts on his prosthesis after competing a heat of men's 100 m freestyle (S10) of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro on 13 September 2016. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP

CAPE TOWN - South African Paralympic swimmer Achmat "Sharkboy" Hassiem's family said that they were delighted that he had opened his eyes.

The Paralympic bronze medallist and shark conservation ambassador has been at a Cape Town hospital for nearly two weeks.

He suffered complications after spinal surgery was performed, landing him in an induced coma on life support.

His mother, Thoraiyah Hassiem, said that while he was not yet responsive, he continued to make good progress.

"His vitals are looking much better now, his temperature, his blood pressure and his heart rate is almost normal and they've taken the pipe out of his mouth and now put a tract in his throat, so he's breathing through that. He's trying to breathe on his own too."

She said that she was pleased, as her eldest son finally opened his eyes after 13 days.

"He moves his eyes around but he's not responding to commands yet. I feel so relieved when I get to the hospital and see a small bit of progress, so to me, a hint of progress is a lot."

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