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22/02/2016 10:47 GMT | Updated 22/02/2016 12:59 GMT

Matt Dawson Urges Parents To Be Aware Of Meningitis Symptoms In Emotional Interview

Matt Dawson has opened up about the moment he discovered his two-year-old son had meningitis C in an emotional interview.

The former England rugby star, who revealed his son's "two weeks of hell" on Twitter, said Sami is now doing "remarkably well", but is not yet walking.

Admitting he didn't realise how dangerous meningitis could be, Dawson also explained why he's backing the campaign for the meningitis B vaccination to be offered to all children.

Dawson explained how he discovered his son had the illness on ITV's This Morning.

"He was a bit ill, a bit grumpy, he had a bit of a fever," he said.

"We’ve all seen it hundreds of times in kids. He had cold hands but was really sweaty, he’d had a seizure, but he’d had seizures before - I thought he had a virus."

matt dawson

Matt Dawson said he originally thought his son just had a "virus"

Dawson said he and his wife Carolin spent the day monitoring Sami. By mid-afternoon, Carolin noticed their son had a "bit of a rash".

"I phoned my doctor and he couldn’t get there for an hour or so, so he said 'just go to A&E'," explained Dawson.

"When we went into the cubicle, within about a minute, there were three or four medical personnel in there and I felt then that there was really something quite serious going on.

"I took my eldest child [Alex] out of the room and got told Sami would be heavily sedated."

Dawson said he called one of best friends to take care of Alex, but broke down on the phone.

"I got about two words out," he added. "My mind was all over the place."

Dawson said that when he and his wife returned home from hospital, he spotted a news story about two-year-old Faye Burdett who tragically died from her meningitis battle on Sunday 14 February 2016.

Faye's mother, Jenny Burdett, released graphic images of her daughter in hospital and encouraged everyone to sign a petition asking for the meningitis B vaccine to be given to all children - a petition which now has nearly 700,000 signatures.

Offering one final piece of advice from himself to viewers, Dawson said: "A lot has been made about the petition out there at the moment, and that’s fantastic for short term or medium term.

"But what will always be the case is the parent’s awareness, and unfortunately you’ll be in positions where you have two or three other kids, you might not be feeling right yourself, and think 'oh he’ll be alright'.

"Can you afford to take that risk?

"We as parents were so close to putting him to bed and thinking 'he’ll be ok in the morning' and if we had of done that, Sami would not be with us anymore, end of story. It’s so crucial."

Dawson uploaded a series of nine images of his son showing the devastating effects of meningitis on Wednesday 17 February 2016.

He praised Great Ormond Street hospital for treating Sami and encouraged others to "vaccinate now".

See the full interview on www.itv.com/thismorning. This Morning is on weekdays at 10.30am.