14-Year-Old Athlete Fights For His Life After Contracting Deadly Brain-Eating Amoeba From Lake
Michael John Riley Jr., 14, is in Texas Children's Hospital with a swollen brain.
A 14-year-old boy is fighting for his life after contracting a deadly brain-eating amoeba while swimming in a lake, according to his family.
Michael John Riley Jr., a three-time junior Olympian, went swimming at a park near Huntsville, Texas with his track team and coach on August 13 and was looking forward to starting high school.
But instead, six days after the swimming trip, he started suffering from a headache, according to his Gofundme page.
Then last Friday, he took a "turn for the worse," the family explained. "He was visibly disoriented, had an unbearable headache and his neck hurt much like meningitis symptoms," they said.
His terrified parents rushed him to Texas Children's Hospital, where staff found his brain was swelling.
Through tests, medical staff discovered he had a brain-eating amoeba called naegleria fowleri, which occur naturally in fresh water.
They can cause irreversible damage or death. While the infections are rare, only a few people have ever survived them.
His family explained on Gofundme: "We have now come to understand that the amoeba entered Michael’s body when he JUMPED in the LAKE and WATER was forced into his NOSE.
"Although VERY RARE it is more likely to occur during and after HOT SUMMER MONTHS. The amoeba attached itself to the nerve that goes to the frontal lobe of the brain."
The youngster is in a medically-induced coma and his brain is still swollen, according to Facebook posts.
"Coming from a lake, you might think maybe you'd get an ear infection, something like that," his father, Mike Riley, told KTRK. "You wouldn't think that going to the doctor's office that they'd tell you your son only has a couple days to live, which is what they told us."
Michael is a track runner who has qualified three times for the Junior Olympics, according to his family.
They are now raising money towards his care on the Gofundme page.
Most recently, 13-year-old Kali Hardig, from Arkansas, survived the brain-eating amoeba after contracting it while swimming at a water park. She was in critical condition for weeks but miraculously recovered and returned home last September.
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