Redback spider venom can cause severe pain, nausea, fever and even death in humans
Photo: Getty Images
A Swedish golfer used a tee to dig out redback spider venom from her leg midway through a tournament in Canberra – and still went on to finish the round.
According to the Swedish Golf Federation, Daniela Holmqvist was forced to take emergency action to save her round-in-progress – and her life – after being bitten during qualifying action for the Women's Australian Open in Yarralumla on Wednesday.
Holmqvist felt a sharp stab in her ankle after playing out of the rough on the fourth hole. When she looked down, she saw a large, black spider with a distinctive red stripe on its back just above her sock line.
"I had just turned and felt it was very painful, not like being stung by a wasp," she told Svensk Golf. "[It was] rather like being stabbed by a knife."
Worried local caddies told the Swede she had been bitten by a redback spider and called for medical assistance, warning her that the venom can kill a child in as little as 30 minutes.
Holmqvist, whose leg had begun to swell, opted to take matters into her own hands rather than waiting. Fishing about for a tee ("it was the only thing I had handy," she later said), the 24-year-old cut open the bite wound and squeezed out the venom.
"A clear fluid came out," she said. "It wasn't the prettiest thing I've ever done, but I had to get as much of it out of me as possible."
Remarkably, her quick thinking did the trick. Despite lingering pain and swelling, doctors cleared Holmqvist to play through the remaining 14 holes.
She carded a 74 for the day, leaving her out of the tournament proper.
Despite their deadly reputation, only 14 confirmed deaths from redback spider bites have been recorded in Australia, and none since an antivenom was introduced in 1955.