• Australian Paralympic skier Josh Hanlon suffered a life-threatening bacterial infection throughout his body in 2018
  • Hanlon, then an Australian Football League player, had both of his legs and his right hand amputated
  • He received prosthetics following the amputations and ended up competing in the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics

A severe bacterial infection that exhibited COVID-19-like symptoms caused Paralympic skier Josh Hanlon to undergo several amputations four years ago, the Australian athlete revealed.

Hanlon had developed a "tickle" one Sunday in June 2018 after going out for a beer with his friends, reported.

The then 21-year-old, who played for the Greater Western Sydney Giants at the time, believed the scratchy throat "was just your standard sore throat."

Hanlon later went to the hospital after his condition worsened, and he was immediately placed into an induced coma.

A life-threatening group A Streptococcus bacterial infection had spread throughout Hanlon's body via his bloodstream, causing toxic shock, sepsis and organ failure, doctors discovered.

"It was really bad. My whole body had shut down," Hanlon, who was in an out of the coma for weeks, recalled.

Hanlon's legs had to be cut below the knee, while his right hand got amputated at the wrist due to the infection.

Hanlon received a prosthetic hand following the amputations. He also learned how to walk again with prosthetic legs.

He was ultimately able to overcome the infection and was allowed to go home after three months in the hospital.

Hanlon was reintroduced to sports when he participated in wheelchair basketball in Wagga Wagga, a city located in the state of New South Wales (NSW).

The former Australian Football League player reportedly became involved in the game with his able-bodied siblings and fell in love with the adrenaline that pumps throughout one's body after exercise.

"[I was enjoying] getting back to being fit and healthy, going out, having fun, just keeping busy and trying new things," Hanlon said.

He got reacquainted with skiing, an activity he had only ever done for a handful of weekends during family holidays as a child.

Now 24, Hanlon made his Paralympic debut earlier this year at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. He competed in two alpine skiing events, the Men's Slalom Sitting event and the Men's Giant Slalom Sitting event, where he finished 6th and 11th place, respectively.

The athlete has since been fitted with new state-of-the-art prosthetics and is currently training in NSW for the Alpine Ski World Cup later this year.

A sore throat may be a symptom of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The United States has reported a total of 86,787,443 coronavirus cases and 1,011,013 deaths, data provided by the health agency showed.

Fireworks explode over National Stadium as the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games kick off in Beijing
Fireworks explode over National Stadium as the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games kick off in Beijing AFP / MOHD RASFAN