DRAPER, Utah. (ABC4) — Seventeen-year-old Everest Romney has now been in the hospital at Primary Children’s for nine days with blood clots, migraines, and chronic pain, but all he can think about is returning to the hardwood and playing basketball at Corner Canyon Highschool.

He told ABC4 from his hospital bed that his symptoms started after getting his first COVID-19 vaccination dose on April 21st.

He did not go to the hospital until May 2.

Everest’s mom, Cherie, said she was told doctors are closer to figuring out what happened.

When ABC4 spoke with Everest, he was in surprisingly good spirits, but said none of this feels real.

“It was quite surprising,” said Everest. “I think I was more numb. It felt like it wasn’t happening to me. I felt it was happening to another person and I was watching it happen.”

Everest said he does not want this illness to set him back. 

He’s a sophomore basketball player at Corner Canyon High School with some big dreams to play at the collegiate level.

His goal is to get a scholarship to continue his basketball career

Everest was first admitted to the ICU then transferred to hospital.

He said he friends, family, and peers have been a tremendous support system.

“Hey Ev, bro, I know you are going through a little rough time right now, but I know you got it,” said a member of Everest’s basketball team. “Bro, stay strong.”

Everest said staying strong is all he can do at this point after the blood clots formed in his brain and near his jugular vein.

“I am always like, it is not a big deal,” said Everest. It’s probably fine, and that’s kind of what lead to this position really is I didn’t want to go to the ER”

Everest said he and his mom went together to get their first round of the Pfizer Covid vaccine, and he has felt sick since.

Both Everest and his mom, Cherie, believe the COVID-19 vaccine played in a role in his sickness.

Cherie told ABC4 doctors told her it was a strong possibility this is the case, but that has not been confirmed.

We reached out to the Utah Department of Health. 

They said the CDC investigates situations like these and added this statement:

To date, there is no evidence either of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) cause the extremely rare blood clotting issues that have been confirmed with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. Of the 251 million doses of the vaccine that have been administered in the U.S., there have been very few severe adverse reactions reported and confirmed. The FDA, CDC, and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) carefully reviewed all of the available data and are confident the vaccines are safe and effective in preventing COVID-19. You can learn more here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/safety-of-vaccines.html.

We encourage the public and providers to report suspected adverse reactions to any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccines, to the CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Vaccine and medical experts at CDC are continuously monitoring and reviewing reports to VAERS for vaccine safety concerns. VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning anyone can submit any report they wish. It’s important to remember that if a health problem is reported to VAERS, that doesn’t mean that the vaccine caused the problem. It simply warns vaccine safety experts of potential problems that may need to be looked at more carefully. If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, please seek out credible and accurate information from your healthcare provider or a reputable source such as coronavirus.utah.gov or cdc.gov/coronavirus.

“I think it is just based on a person-by-person basis,” said Everest. “I think you personally have to decide and weigh the risks. I weighed the risks and obviously, I was wrong.”

Everest said he still encourages those to get the COVID vaccine if they want to.

His biggest issue isn’t even the illness itself, it’s his basketball career.

“I would very much like to get a scholarship,” said Everest. “I think I am good enough to get a scholarship.”

To play at the collegiate level is a goal of Everest’s.

He said his support system has helped guide him through this life-threatening experience.

“I would say get the support,” said Everest. “It just feels very wonderful to have all these people behind you.”

Everest told ABC4 he is itching to get out of the hospital, but said he can’t play basketball for more than a month after he is released.

Right now, there is no timeline on when Everest will be released.