Recovery continues for Utah teenager hospitalized with blood clots after COVID-19 vaccine

Local News

DRAPER, Utah (ABC4) – Days after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, a Utah teenager was hospitalized for blood clots in his brain. Now, he faces recovery.

Seventeen-year-old Everest Romney, a Corner Canyon High School basketball player, started feeling his neck swell the day after getting his dose. Over the next few days, he suffered from severe headaches.

His mother, Cherie, 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 Cherie. He also began suffering from fevers and incessant headaches.

After more than a week with symptoms, Everest and his family finally had answers: two blood clots inside his brain, and one on the outside.

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 May 6, Everest was able to leave the ICU with swollen eyes and the road ahead uncertain.

Everest recently had an MRI that showed no neurological damage to his brain, his family shared Monday, and his blood clots have not increased in size. Doctors are still working to identify a more specific cause as well.

An update on his condition reads in part:

His brain swelling continues but they are hopeful this will improve and the migraines will lessen within 6 weeks or even a month. His vision does not appear to have been affected long-term and follow up appointments will be needed to continue to verify that. He will be monitored closely for the next few months but early indications and tests lend them to cautiously believe his prognosis is very very good, including returning to basketball!!!!

We have a tough road ahead yet but are beginning to possibly see light at the end of the tunnel. We want to express our love and immense gratitude to all of you for your love and support, your prayers and fasting on behalf of Everest and your support of our family during this almost unbearable time. I do not think we could have gotten to this point so quickly without your prayers, and I do not want to think about having had to face this alone – forever we will be grateful for our Smith family, our Corner Canyon basketball family, our church and the community of Draper as well as the greater basketball community’s love and support. Words cannot express our thanks as so many of you continue to uplift and even carry us.

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.

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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.

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