Taylor Hooton Foundation > Hoot’s Corner > General > ED ‘SPYK’ GHEUR
August 13, 2012

ED 'SPYK' GHEUR, 49, a retired professional rugby player from Brighton, took steroids every day from the age of 16 to 34, when he suffered a heart attack.

He has since written a book about his experience, to help raise awareness, called A Naughty Thing Called Life by Papa Spyk. He says: When I was 16, I was introduced to steroids by a friend. I could exercise harder and for longer, I packed on lean muscle and the girls flocked to me. I soon became hooked. As a professional rugby player in South Africa, I either injected or took oral steroids every day. I grew "bitch tits" because of the excess oestrogen in my body. I had them surgically removed. I had terrible acne on my back and my testicles shrank to the size of peanuts. But this seemed a small price compared with the attention, money and glamour of being so ripped. After I retired from rugby, I became a model and stuntman in the US. I soon became addicted to cocaine, which cost £300 a day over eight years. Everything changed one evening in 1997 when I was cooking dinner for my wife and my heart exploded. My aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body, had split in half. I faced having my legs amputated, which were miraculously partially saved by a surgeon, and all the organs in my body died. I was in a coma for a month and intensive care for two more, needing more ops to replace my aorta with a plastic one. My wife left me because she'd been told I'd almost certainly be brain dead and paraplegic. I spent two years in bed recuperating, needing round-the-clock care, then five years in a wheelchair, very slowly learning to walk again. I was told I would never be a father but got married and we had a girl who's now six. All I want now is to share my story so other people don't do what I did.