Olympian Grant Hackett, who is facing assault charges for allegedly groping of a male passenger on a Sunday flight, has been admitted to a private hospital for a serious mouth infection. He is reportedly suffering from “uvulitis,” a severe condition caused by the swelling of the uvula tissue at the back of the throat.
Hackett was in the news on Sunday when he grabbed the nipple of Sydney real estate agent Martin Slobodnik on a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne. Some said the athlete was heavily drunk.
According to News Corp, he has been admitted to the Pindara Private Hospital on the Gold Coast. Sources added that the 35-year-old athlete had been suffering from this problem before the Rio Olympic trials in Adelaide. He narrowly missed the selection for the 4 x 200m freestyle relay squad.
Swimming Australia head coach Jacco Verhaeren reasoned that Hackett’s illness could be a context for his fracas on the flight en route to the Gold Coast. The coach said Olympian Grant Hackett was disappointed at not getting selected for the Rio team. “I don’t know if the two things are related but he hasn’t had a great week so far, so I really hope that he gets well,” he said.
Coach Verhaeren said Swimming Australia would support Hackett in the plane incident for which he was questioned by the Australian Federal Police.
According to general practitioner Roger Halliwell, uvulitis is a painful condition and it means the infection could be a reason for his underperformance during the Rio trials. “I’ve seen people with that over the years and they’re absolutely miserable.”
Meanwhile, Martin Slobodnik, the victim of Grant Hackett’s alleged ‘nipple-tweaking’ assault, will not press charges against the Olympian after the latter tendered a public and private apology. Hackett contacted Slobodnik soon after his indecent in-flight behaviour and offered to donate an undisclosed amount to a charity to be suggested by Slobodnik.
Slobodnik said even though the issue had been “resolved,” he still felt “on the edge.” “I can still feel his hands groping. I still feel violated,” he said. The victim recalled that he was sitting in front of Grant Hackett in the Virgin Airlines business class flight when the events unfolded, reports 7 News.
“As I reclined my chair he grabbed it and yanked it back. Then he put his hand through and groped my chest and tweaked my nipple quite forcefully,” the passenger said.