After visiting an amusement park and riding some roller coasters, a 4-year-old boy suffered a stroke. His parents didn’t know until later, when he began throwing up and part of his face drooped. Shortly thereafter, he was unable to walk and grew weaker on the left side of his body.
On Thursday, the journal Pediatric Neurology published details on the unusual case. The unnamed child is believed to be the youngest person who has ever suffered a stroke as a result of roller coaster rides.
Dr. Jose Biller, chair of the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, treated the child. He explained the force of the rides created a tear in the boy’s carotid artery, which is supplies oxygenated blood to the head and neck. The tear caused a blood clot, which then moved to the brain and caused a stroke.
The boy was given a low-does aspirin treatment and within six months he was walking again. Biller told CBS that the boy is still recovering. "He walks with a limp and he needs help getting dressed. But he can move his left arm and grip things," Biller said via email. "He has no speech problems, and he is doing above average in school. He is taking karate classes as part of his therapy.”
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Though it’s uncommon for people to develop strokes after riding roller coasters, it can happen. In separate incidents, an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old suffered strokes after visiting amusement parks.