Teenage footballer, 15, has surgery for brain tumor after doctors misdiagnosed him with long Covid

A teenage footballer was found to have a potentially deadly brain tumor after doctors misdiagnosed him as having ‘long’ Covid.

Kane Allcock, 15, had been suffering from persistent headaches after testing positive for coronavirus on New Year’s Eve 2021.

But despite being admitted to A&E, neurological tests apparently failed to detect any problems and medics mistakenly assumed he had migraines caused by long Covid.

The teenager was given codeine pain killers.

Kane Allcock (pictured after his surgery), 15, had been suffering from persistent headaches after testing positive for coronavirus on New Year's Eve 2021

Kane Allcock (pictured after his surgery), 15, had been suffering from persistent headaches after testing positive for coronavirus on New Year’s Eve 2021

But despite being admitted to A&E, neurological tests apparently failed to detect any problems and medics mistakenly assumed he had migraines caused by long Covid

Pictured: Kane before

But despite being admitted to A&E, neurological tests apparently failed to detect any problems and medics mistakenly assumed he had migraines caused by long Covid

Later Kane, who plays for Crewe Alexandra’s youth team began to suffer more severe headaches, was nauseous and struggled to walk, due to dizziness.

After being readmitted to hospital he suffered a seizure and was subsequently sent for an MRI scan which revealed had acute hydrocephalus, a build-up of pressure on the brain caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid.

The scan also found a large tumor and Kane underwent a seven-and-a-half-hour operation to remove the tumor and is now recovering. It emerged the tumor was a low-grade or non-cancerous pilocytic astrocytoma.

Kane’s mother Nicki, a medical secretary for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), from Crewe said: ‘We’d traveled to Blackpool on the Thursday before the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, as Kane was due to take part in a tournament with his Crewe FC teammates.

‘When we got there, he was unwell and went straight to bed. The next day, we took him to a nearby walk-in center. They did a full examination and concluded that he may have been suffering from post-Covid vertigo and he was given codeine.’

Later Kane, who plays for Crewe Alexandra's youth team began to suffer more severe headaches, was nauseous and struggled to walk, due to dizziness.  After being readmitted to hospital he suffered a seizure and was subsequently sent for an MRI scan which revealed had acute hydrocephalus, a build-up of pressure on the brain caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid

Later Kane, who plays for Crewe Alexandra’s youth team began to suffer more severe headaches, was nauseous and struggled to walk, due to dizziness. After being readmitted to hospital he suffered a seizure and was subsequently sent for an MRI scan which revealed had acute hydrocephalus, a build-up of pressure on the brain caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid

What is ‘Long Covid?’

As of January 2, an estimated 1.33million people in the UK were estimated to have long Covid.

Long Covid is an informal term, used to describe ongoing symptoms following a Covid infection that go on longer than four weeks, according to the ONS.

A dizzying array of symptoms have been attributed to long Covid, including:

  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain or tightness
  • problems with memory and concentration (‘brain fog’)
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • heart palpitations
  • dizziness
  • pins and needles
  • joint pain
  • depression and anxiety
  • tinnitus, earaches
  • feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • rashes

There is no cure for the condition though the NHS does recommend a number of treatments designed to help alleviate the symptoms.

‘But the following day, Kane was feeling too poorly to play football, so we took him home and they went straight to A&E at Leighton Hospital in Crewe. I knew something wasn’t right. Kane was holding his head and rocking in agony. He couldn’t walk properly. They did some blood tests and put him on oxygen and IV pain relief.

‘The message I was getting was that he was still just suffering from migraines. But when we were being booked into the assessment ward, I spoke to a nurse who seemed to take us more seriously and I told her I’d noticed a dent at the back of Kane’s head. She admitted Kane and said we wouldn’t be going home until the following day at the earliest.’

The next day, Kane had a seizure, and was sent for an MRI scan of his brain which revealed the tumor and he was transferred by ambulance to Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool.

Mother of two Nicki from Crewe said: ‘We followed in the car and it was the longest 50 minutes of our lives. When we got there, we barely spent any time with Kane before we were asked to sign the consent forms for his surgery, and he was quickly taken into theater for an operation to treat the hydrocephalus.

‘Just two days later, on April 19, he went into theater again and thankfully, Kane’s amazing surgeon managed to remove it all.

‘Kane was discharged just four days after the operation, but on April 25, he had a wound leak, which meant another trip back to Alder Hey, where he had a couple of extra stitches added.

‘The wound continued to leak and during a routine follow up appointment on April 27, it was decided Kane needed to go back into surgery to re-suture the wound. It didn’t end there, because they also discovered his hydrocephalus had flared up again and he had to have a spinal drain inserted to fix that.

‘This meant lying flat for five days. The drain was removed on 1 May and Kane was discharged home the following day.’

Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board has been contacted for comment.

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