A FORMER Accrington Stanley footballer was rushed to hospital after being bitten by a false widow spider in his flat in Rawtenstall.
Wrexham striker James Gray, who scored 13 goals for Stanley, was attacked by the spider in his sleep on February 10.
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The first thing he knew about it was when he woke up the next morning with a strange spot on his arm.
Throughout the day the spot got worse and he started to develop a fever and struggled to sleep before he was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
Following an operation and tests, it was concluded by doctors that a steatoda nobilis, more widely known as the false widow spider, had munched on his arm.
Mr Gray said he couldn’t quite believe what had happened.
He said: “I woke up with a spot on my arm and I just didn’t think anything of it, even though it was quite painful to touch.
“Then I started to notice over the next few days that it was getting even more painful and started to really irritate me but I kept on training and played for Wrexham on the Saturday after I was bitten.
“I went to the doctors and we still didn’t think anything of it but then I started to get a fever and I was sweating a lot in my sleep, so I was eventually taken to hospital to have an operation on the arm.
“I never thought it was a spider bite at all, it’s not something you expect.
“I’m glad I got it treated because if I had left it I may have had to have my arm removed.
“I haven’t seen the spider about since I got back so hopefully it’s gone.”
The 23-year-old remains unable to train with his team while the hole in his arm heals despite being released from hospital more than a week ago.
Mr Gray plans to possibly add to his collection of tattoos after the hole heals to remember his experience of being bitten.
The spider has been recorded in England as long ago as the mid-1800s and it is capable of inflicting extremely painful bites but usually they don’t have long-lasting consequences.
In contrast, the bite of the venomous Black Widow spider, native to North America, can cause very severe symptoms including death.