Teenager Dies From Rare Neurological Disease After Suffering Painful Headaches On Soccer Pitch

14-year-old Christopher Bunch from Iowa returned home from soccer practice on August 6 with a splitting headache. Earlier in the day, he complained to his mother, Destiny Maynard, but she signed it off as dehydration.

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In 48 hours, his condition worsened and his mother took him to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Soon after, Brunch was unable to breathe and was paralyzed on one side of his body.

Brunch was diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a rare neurological condition that is caused by a viral or bacterial infection resultin in swelling of the brain and spinal cord. Ironically, Brunch had been vaccinated for it recently. Children are more likely to suffer the condition than adults are.

On August 14, Destiny Maynard announced on Facebook that her son had passed on. The news broke just two days after the boy’s father Elijah Mendoza, announced that Brunch was suffering brain herniation.

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According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) and multiple sclerosis (MS) share similar symptoms and can be easily misdiagnosed. However, ADEM usually occurs only once, compared to multiple sclerosis. Abnormalities in MRI help differentiate between both conditions.

The story continues to touch many hearts around the world and commentators on social media are still sharing condolence messages with the family of the bereaved.

Brunch’s death was an unexpected tragedy that has left the family devastated. Before his death, he was working his way to becoming a popular YouTube vlogger. 

Even in the absence of a history of disorders in families, it is advisable to seek medical attention if feeling unwell. Sometimes, being in a hurry to find the root of a problem may save a life.

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