Imagine being a parent and walking into your 3-year-old child’s room only to find him unable to move. This is what happened to parents Dillon and Stephanie, who were horrified to find that their 3-year-old son Collin was paralyzed.
He was unable to stand and could barely walk. His parents thought that it was possible that Collin had suffered a head injury that took place at his brother’s baseball game the night before. After rushing their son to the hospital, doctors were able to confirm that Collin was not suffering a brain injury. The doctors continued to do tests as Collin’s condition worsened. He was unable to move from the neck down and was even having trouble eating and drinking.
“My husband and I decided to have him transferred to a children’s hospital in Memphis,” Stephanie said. Collin was transferred to a different hospital, where doctors told them that if they had waited 30 more minutes, Collin would have gone into cardiac arrest. Doctors at the children’s hospital were finally able to tell Collin’s parents what the problem was. Their son had a tick.
The tick was behind Collin’s ear. Once the doctors removed it, Collin was able to move again.
Tick bites are quite common, but paralysis is not a common reaction to tick bites. “This neurotoxin hangs out in their salivary glands, so while the tick is feeding, that neurotoxin gets into, in this case, Collin’s blood and that leads to what we call an ascending paralysis, which initially starts with the legs and an inability to walk,” says ER physician Dr. Travis Stork.
“The minute the tick is removed, shortly thereafter, symptoms will start to improve,” Dr. Stork also said.
Collin fully recovered and is doing fine now. His parents hope that their story will help others who may find themselves in similar, scary situations.