SINGAPORE - Nearly three months after a shot-putter's throw cracked his head, physical education (PE) teacher Abdul Samat opened his eyes and he recovered well enough to be discharged in June.
But a lung infection put him back in hospital the next day. He is now in a coma again. The 68-year-old suffered severe head injuries after being struck during a practice session at Regent Secondary School on Feb 1.
At the time of the accident, Mr Samat was supervising four students hurling the heavy metal balls, known as shots, into a sandpit. Hundreds of students, past and present, have visited him at the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), some of whom flew back from abroad upon hearing the news of his accident. Mr Samat retired in 2009 from Crescent Girls' School (CGS) where he taught for about 30 years and started working part-time.
One of his former students from CGS, Ms Josephine Tan, 35, told The New Paper that Mr Samat continued teaching after his retirement because of "his passion for school sports". "So it's really sad that this has happened to him," the business development manager said.
She visited him in hospital after learning of what happened. She remembers him as a stern but funny teacher.
"He was like a father to us, always reminding us to take care of our health. He was always telling us not to drink soft drinks or cold drinks as it was not good for us." So when Mr Samat's son Muhammad Nur Hisham, 32, set up a Facebook page in February to provide daily updates on his father's condition, he entitled it "Sir, Cikgu, Uncle, Father Samat". Cikgu means teacher in Malay.
The technician posted that while in hospital, Mr Samat had his 68th birthday and also lost his mother.
Mr Samat managed to open his eyes, an April 19 post said. He was well enough to undergo surgery in mid-April to replace a piece of his skull that was removed to relieve swelling of the injured brain. But he suffered an infection soon after.