Frank McGrath, a bodybuilding veteran known for arms and proportions, has suffered a few health issues as of late. Taking to YouTube, the Open bodybuilding staple detailed his near-death experience which saw him suffering from two ulcers in his esophagus and internal bleeding, which all happened before 2023 Olympia.
“They had to pick me off my bed and put me on the stretcher in the ambulance. And I really felt myself like fading away. I thought I was dying,” revealed Frank McGrath.
Having secured his Pro card in 2003 at the CBBF Canadian Championships, fans immediately took notice of the monstrous proportions and feathered quads of McGrath. Not only was McGrath respected for his wild vascularity, but the community also held him in high regard for boasting insanely defined biceps and forearms.
With his final bodybuilding show coming in sixth place at the 2015 Lou Ferrigno Legacy Pro, McGrath wasted no time in becoming a visible member of the community in retirement. Despite facing health issues that require dialysis, McGrath perseveres and regularly inspires fans with his dedication to training.
Frank McGrath Talks ‘Dangerous’ Health Scare, Says He Was ‘Losing Blood’ and Felt Himself ‘Fading Away’
Before the Olympia, McGrath disclosed that he injected his shoulder with a “bad shot” which caused pain and inflammation.
“I posted about I did a bad shot in my shoulder, got pretty swollen up, it was really painful but that’s just the beginning of the story. I’ll tell you what happened first. Before the Arnold, not the Arnold, the Olympia, I did a shot of testosterone, you know I’m doing TRT right now.
That was a Wednesday, I went to the Olympia and even at the Olympia I was having problems eating. I had no appetite, I was feeling pretty tired and stuff like that but I pushed through and went to the Olympia and had a good time,” said McGrath.
Days later his shoulder was even more painful and swollen; this prompted him to finally go to the hospital.
“Sunday morning and my shoulder was super swollen and very painful. I stayed in bed all day flew home, got home. I thought that it was just a bad shot.
I think we’ve all done a bad shot. You get a little lump, no big deal right? But it wasn’t getting better. It didn’t get better.”
It was so painful it got to the point where I had to go to the hospital. I wasn’t sure if it was getting infected and went to the hospital. Yes I did [I went to the gym first].
He explained that he tried to get his shoulder drained and said medical staff in the emergency room found no infections.
“Tried to get it drained and stuff like that. I went to the emergency room just in case you have an infection you don’t want to lose your fuckin whole arm.”
“I went to the emergency room got it all checked out they did blood tests all the stuff like that. No infections, but the arm was super super swollen all the way down to my forearm.”
As for how he was feeling, Frank McGrath emphasized the “major pains” in his stomach, adding that he couldn’t keep his balance. Eventually, he fell and smashed his head on a cupboard.
“There was a lot of water retention, the shoulder was huge. They said you have a really bad hematoma in your shoulder and they actually sent me home and they said come back Sunday night and they were going to re-admit me the next day they were going to get an ultrasound and drain the fluid out of it and I should be fine.”
“I was having major major pains in my stomach. I stood up and tried to go to the bathroom. I was so disoriented that I couldn’t really keep my balance. Got to the bathroom, fell, smashed my head on the cupboard.”
He specified that his blood pressure was 54 over 30, prompting doctors and medical staff to give him blood transfusions immediately.
“They said let’s call the ambulance it’s not safe. For me, I don’t know about you, I don’t call the ambulance until it’s like life or death. I’m a guy it’s embarrassing man. It sounds kind of stupid because you think you’re going to be okay. I was like okay, I should. I’m in pain I cannot get up.”
“They put me on an IV, my blood pressure was 54 over 40 as soon as they did that, they were like get two bags of blood right now. They rushed. No waiting. They said this guy needs it right now. They didn’t even check my blood type they could put any blood in there, it’s the one that matches everyone yeah O negative,” said McGrath.
According to Frank McGrath, at that moment, he felt his life “fading away.”
“I felt myself fading away. I was like… I was disoriented and it’s such a hard thing to describe feeling like the life is draining out of you.”
Specifically, doctors found a pair of ulcers in McGrath’s esophagus and he was bleeding internally.
“I ended up having two ulcers in my esophagus very big ones they said, then they did the other end, and I had a lot of bowel inflammation, ulcers in my stomach, they fixed all those whatever they had to do.
But the main thing that happened was that I was bleeding internally. I was losing blood.
Given his past health issues, McGrath was already taking Warfarin, a blood thinning agent to ensure his blood doesn’t clot. However, after he hit his head, medical professionals expressed concerns over a potential brain bleed.
“I was on blood thinners it’s called Warfarin, to make sure my blood doesn’t clot. When I was in the hospital, they said, they check your blood every time, once a month something like that, I can’t remember how many times, they checked your INR which is how thin your blood is.”
“I did smack my head, but they were even like if you hurt your head or you smack your head and you get a bleed in your brain, it’s very dangerous.”
What’s Next For Frank McGrath?
On the mend, McGrath’s focus is on improving his health moving forward. He added that his swollen shoulder was a hematoma, which he’s still struggling with today.
“Today was the first day I ate chicken and rice. It’s plain and it digests pretty good. Right now, I’m not going to eat pizza or fuckin — not for a while.
Not till I fully heal, then I can have a cheat meal or whatever. Now it’s just eating plain for now and find things that are just easy.”
“They did an ultrasound on the shoulder and they said it was just a hematoma that was just really swollen. It’s gone down a lot but it’s at a point where it’s not going down anymore.”
Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time fans have heard about the dangers of esophagus ulcers. Just hours before he was set to compete at the 2023 Mr. Olympia competition, former champion Brandon Curry fell ill. It was later revealed that he was suffering from esophagus ulcers, though fortunately, Curry pushed through and still managed to finish fourth on the sport’s biggest stage.
Given the fragility of life, especially in bodybuilding, fans are happy to hear that Frank McGrath, a fan favorite, is continuing his recovery process. In due time, hopefully, his shoulder inflammation will subside completely.