Teen Suffers Rare Stroke Caused by a Complicated Migraine

Michael was 15 and a freshman in high school when he suffered a stroke. Early in the morning of January 12, 2009, things started to become strange. He could not recall his cafeteria code, he couldn't see to get in his locker and he was stumbling into desks. As he went up the stairs to the nurse's office he dropped his books. The paramedics were called and he was taken to the ER at a local hospital. They were speculating drugs or alcohol. He was a 3-sport athlete and it was 8:30 in the morning so that didn't seem to make sense. He was unconscious and didn't even respond to ammonia placed inside his nostrils. They did a CT scan and didn't see anything so they sent him home telling his parents that it was psychological and he was looking for attention.

Disturbed by their son's condition and the diagnosis at the hospital, they brought him to his pediatrician who immediately sensed that something neurological was occurring and had him admitted to Gillette's Children's Hospital. An MRI gave the proper diagnosis. Michael had a complicated migraine that had started in the basil artery and pushed into the cerebellum and the hypothalamus, causing a stroke. He had right-side weakness, a field cut and memory and impulse control issues. He was homebound for two and half months.

Today he is doing well physically. His greatest concern at the time was he feared he would never play sports again. This past year he was given permission to participate. He continues to struggle academically because his memory and impulse control still cause him difficulty. But he is on an IEP and receives amazing support from his school. Michael has shown great strength and determination and today he does much to raise awareness of pediatric/childhood strokes.


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