Express & Star

Former West Brom and Walsall defender's fight to overcome his illness nightmare

Former Albion and Walsall defender Jack Fitzwater was having to go the toilet as much as 40 times a day at the height of his battle with severe ulcerative colitis.


Fitzwater, 26, has opened up on the ‘embarrassing’ illness that saw him delay going to see his doctor.

“It started with having an urgency to go to the toilet,” he said to BBC Sport. “I thought it might be something I’d eaten or maybe I was lacking in iron.

“I made loads of excuses up to myself and hid it from everyone. Every time I went out, I’d be thinking about where the nearest toilet was in case I had the urgency to go.

“Every time I went to the toilet, there was blood in it. After matches, I was finding that my recovery was taking longer; I was tired all the time, no matter how much sleep I got.”

He added: “I was going to the toilet 20, 30, sometimes 40 times a day.

“I was waking up at three o’clock in the morning, going downstairs to reception and going to local toilets outside of the hotel, just to try to disguise it.

“I didn’t want my family to know about it at the time. I thought I was invisible to deal with it on my own.

“I think as a man, we think there’s a stigma around going to see your doctor – that it’s a weakness and it’s embarrassing.

“But it doesn’t really pass unless you’ve got the right medication to deal with it.”