Stormers and South Africa back-row Schalk Burger has been honoured at the Laureus Awards in Shanghai.
The 32-year-old, who recently passed a century of Super Rugby appearances with the Stormers, scooped the Comeback of the Year award which was presented to him by Springbok legend Morne du Plessis.
Burger, who was accompanied by his wife Michele at the awards, overcame a life-threatening case of bacterial meningitis before returning to action with the Stormers and Springboks last year.
His rivals for the prize were Francesco Acerbi (football, Italy), Diego Milito (football, Argentina), Jo Pavey (athletics, UK), Pierre Vaultier (snowboarding, France) and Oliver Wilson (golf, UK).
Oregan Hoskins, President of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), paid tribute to Burger after he was out of action for 18 months before making his comeback to the playing field late in 2013.
“What Schalk has gone through in the last couple of years and what he has achieved makes it one of the most inspirational sporting stories in our recent history,” said Mr Hoskins.
“He has been an icon of inspiration and the fact that he always seems to have a smile on his face, makes it even more joyous to watch Schalk in action.
“On behalf of everyone in South African rugby, I would like to congratulate him on this amazing achievement but knowing Schalk, I know he will be itching to get back to Perth where the DHL Stormers are playing on Saturday.”
Burger will return to Perth in time for the Stormers’ match against the Force on Saturday.