Athlete Who Recovered From Covid Facing ‘Very Different Future’ After Second Dose of Pfizer Vaccine Triggers Myocarditis
Greyson Follmer, an Ohio State University (OSU) student, was an elite athlete and member of the university’s chapter of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
But, according to his mother, the 19-year-old from Ohio is looking at a very different future now, after he developed severe heart complications following his second dose of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine.
In an exclusive interview with The Defender, Marie Follmer said nobody warned her about the potential for increased risks of COVID vaccine-related adverse events for people like her son, who already had COVID and had acquired natural immunity.
Greyson has played sports since he was 4 years old. He was an athlete who played in the state soccer championship in high school and then went on to OSU and started college during the COVID pandemic. He also joined ROTC his freshman year and was very active — running several miles every day with heavy packs on his back.
Greyson was perfectly healthy and had no underlying conditions except for asthma — which didn’t affect his athletic abilities — and food allergies.
Like most students early on in the year, Greyson and his friends got COVID. Though most had no symptoms, Greyson experienced mild flu symptoms — though they were nothing like his post-vaccine symptoms, Follmer explained.
The university required students who had COVID to quarantine. It also required them to get a heart MRI before they could return to school. Follmer thought that was strange, but she made sure her son got one.
When the cardiac MRI came back it showed Greyson’s heart was enlarged with slight inflammation. The cardiologist thought it could be related to being an elite athlete, and signed a release for Greyson to return to school.
“He wasn’t 100%, but he was recovering. He was able to go skiing, return to ROTC and went on spring break,” Follmer said.
Follmer and her husband got vaccinated first with Moderna. When a friend of Follmer secured appointments for the kids to be vaccinated, she drove to OSU, picked up Greyson and told him he was going to get vaccinated.
Greyson received his first dose of Pfizer on April 16, and a second dose on May 7. After the first dose Greyson experienced minor symptoms, but his mother didn’t connect them to the COVID vaccine.
It was after his second dose that things really changed, Follmer said. Greyson experienced significant symptoms shortly after his second dose. Three times he was taken to Nationwide Children’s Emergency Hospital.
“My son feels like he’s having a heart attack 24/7,” Follmer said. “He now has high blood pressure, severe chest pains, back pain, elevated kidney levels, hypothyroidism, inflamed lymph nodes in different areas of his body, and he can’t work or exercise.”
Follmer said Greyson feels like he’s dying and has to sleep all the time. He likely won’t be able to go back to ROTC and doesn’t know if he will be able to return to school in August. Greyson experienced broken feet from soccer and said nothing compares to the chest pain he feels now.
“A perfectly healthy kid has gone downhill,” his mom said.
Doctors initially attributed the heart problems Greyson experienced in May, after the vaccine, to the COVID he had in September 2020. Believing he was a “long-hauler,” they referred her son to the Ohio COVID Clinic.
According to the Harvard Gazette, “COVID long-haulers” is a term used to describe those who continue to feel symptoms of COVID long after the expected recovery time. Patients tend to be younger, and in some cases, initially experienced only mild symptoms.
On June 15, Greyson was taken by emergency medicine services to Ohio Health. Follmer said she knew her son’s symptoms were connected to the Pfizer vaccine, but nobody knew how to help him.
Greyson has seen numerous doctors and specialists. His f
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