DRAPER, Utah (ABC4) – The day after his COVID-19 vaccine shot, 17-year-old Everest Romney felt his neck swelling. In the coming days, he suffered from severe headaches.
His mother, who tells ABC4 the pediatrician initially dismissed the symptoms as a pulled neck muscle, says she was convinced it was something else.
“He could not move his neck without the assistance of his hands,” says mother Cherie Romney.
That was just a few days after the shot. Plus, now her son suffered from fevers and incessant headaches.
Romney says she knew she needed to keep advocating to doctors that something wasn’t right.
Finally, after more than a week of the symptoms, the Corner Canyon High School basketball player and his family had answers: two blood clots inside his brain, and one on the outside.
“The hardest thing was I let him get that shot. And he was healthy and well before,” says Romney.
“But you question it, you can’t help but question it when it all goes wrong,” she added.
Romney’s mother tells ABC4 she can’t yet say whether the shot caused Everest to suffer like this. Perhaps, she says, it was a “perfect storm.” Her son plays competitive basketball seven days a week, which means high contact physical activity that could have possibly aggravated the swelling caused by the vaccine.
On Thursday, Everest left the ICU, but his eyes are still swollen and the road ahead is uncertain.
Cherie says she has been overwhelmed with support not just locally, but around the country. People are praying and sending messages of love, which she says are holding her family up during this time. Going forward, she says she wants parents to make the best decisions for their children, and for doctors to understand this new vaccine might bring new challenges to conventional wisdom.
She doesn’t want to discourage parents, she says, because each parent must make the best decision for their child. Still, with her son now hospitalized, she wishes her choice had been a different one.
“It was pretty awful,” says Romney.
As of May 18, Romney is at home recovering from the blood clots. He is still experiencing the clots and brain swelling, but he is able to sit at the dinner table and have meals with his family, his mother tells ABC4.