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MY FIT DUE TO A SOFT DRINK; Star's collapse at Ulster match 'not down to drugs'.


ROYLE family star Ralf Little has revealed how his collapse at a Belfast charity football match has finally been linked to the same illness that killed Ecstasy victim Leah Betts.

Ralf, 24, who played Anthony in the hit BBC comedy took part in a charity game at the Odyssey in March.

He later collapsed, leading to speculation it was linked to drugs, drink or both - or even that the incident was some sort of publicity stunt.

Now he has revealed how doctors told him what really happened and how he underwent a week of brain scans before his collapse was linked to overhydration - drinking too much water.

"It wasn't drugs. I don't do drugs. I got uproariously drunk the night before and didn't get much sleep.

"I had no breakfast because I felt so sick and then what you're meant to do before you play any sport is to overhydrate.

"That's the theory, you drink so much beforehand you don't get thirsty during the game.

"So whenever I play football I always drink two full bottles of POWERade.

"We didn't play for an hour or hour an half and without thinking I was just downing bottle after bottle, I must have gone through nine or 10.

"My body and brain cells had been so dehydrated or wrinkled and shrivelled from dehydration, then suddenly so aggressively overhydrated that basically my brain thought 'you're not taking the p***' and all my neural connections went haywire.

"I hit the deck in front of 10,000 people and started convulsing."

Doctors found he had suffered the same condition which killed Ecstasy victim Leah Betts.

She died in November 1995 from 'water intoxication' or drinking too much water while on the dangerous drug.

Said Little: "My crazy collapse in Belfast was a bit like what happened to Leah.

"She drank too much water and overhydrated. So did I."

He also slammed some reports which said the whole thing had been staged, fuming: "Let's get realistic.Why would I make myself look like a complete idiot in front of 10,000 people, spend a night in hospital, which is a good laugh, followed by a night in London then a week's worth of brain scans? That's a real publicity stunt!"



PLAYING: Ralf at Belfast's Odyssey; DEATH: Leah Betts
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:May 9, 2004
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