Junior Olympian, 14, dies after contracting brain-eating amoeba
A 14-year-old star athlete from Houston died Sunday, two weeks after he was diagnosed with a rare brain-eating amoeba.
Michael John Riley Jr. went swimming with his cross country team on August 13 at Sam Houston State Park. Shortly after the teen began to complain of bad headaches that progressed, his family took him to a hospital, reports KTLA.
According to online posts from Michael’s family, the boy suffered from Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis, which usually occurs when the Naegleria fowleri amoeba enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain. The infection causes the brain to swell.
The infection is almost always fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The young athlete, who qualified three times for the Junior Olympics to compete in track, was just days away from beginning high school.
Earlier this month, a four-year-old, who was also swimming in the Houston-area of Huntsville, died of the same brain infection.
After Michael’s diagnosis, a GoFundMe page has been set up for him and his family.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael’s family and friends.