He will remain in hospital for the next 14 days
Springbok and Stormers stalwart Schalk Burger's career has been put on hold, after it was revealed on Thursday that he is suffering from a life-threatening disease.
The Burger family issued a brief media statement in which they revealed that the 29-year-old loose forward has bacterial meningitis.
"We as a family herewith would like to advise all the fans, supporters, sponsors and employers of Schalk that he was yesterday [Wednesday] afternoon diagnosed as having contracted bacterial meningitis following an operation to reduce pressure on a nerve that was influencing the performance of his calf muscle," the family statement said.
The family are holding out hope that the 68-times capped Bok would be able to make a full recovery and return to the game, despite the severity of his illness.
"Given a successful recovery, he will remain in hospital for the next 14 days and where after it will be at least another six weeks before he will be fit for playing," the statement said.
"We would like to thank the specialists looking after him, and are doing a marvelous job, as well as everyone who has sent their best wishes, given the tough time he, his wife Michele and son Schalk are going through.
"We will issue a further statement as his condition improves."
Burger underwent knee surgery last year, after suffering an injury in the opening match of the season.
After a long struggle to work his way back to full fitness, the Bok veteran strained his calf in training this year and has had a couple of setbacks as he tried to work his way back from the latest injury.
* Meningitis is an infection of the membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be caused by a bacterial, fungal or viral infection. Meningitis can be acute, with a quick onset of symptoms, it can be chronic, lasting a month or more, or it can be mild or aseptic. Anyone experiencing symptoms of meningitis should see a doctor immediately.
* Bacterial meningitis is the most common form of meningitis. Approximately 80 percent of all cases are acute bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis can be life threatening. The infection can cause the tissues around the brain to swell. This in turn interferes with blood flow and can result in paralysis or even stroke.
The bacteria most often responsible for bacterial meningitis are common in the environment and can also be found in your nose and respiratory system without causing any harm. Sometimes meningitis occurs for no known reason. Other times it occurs after a head injury or after you have had an infection and your immune system is weakened.