Utah Teen Suffering From Long-Haul COVID-19 Months After Infection

May 11, 2021, 10:31 PM | Updated: Jul 6, 2023, 1:25 pm

HERRIMAN, Utah — A 15-year-old Utah girl hit hard by COVID-19 has struggled with long-term side effects months after her diagnosis.

Alicia Rich couldn’t wait to get home Tuesday night to tell her mother about a big soccer match, only, she didn’t play.

Her doctors said they wanted to study her EKG more.

“They say I can do 50%, but I can’t even do that, like physically,” said Rich.

Rich had COVID-19 in February.

She beat it, but months later, she can’t taste or smell. Rich also has ringing in her ears and feels a sharp pain in her chest anytime she runs or exercises.

For now, that means no soccer.

“She’s been doing it since she was eight, so it’s a big deal, like it’s her life,” said Misty Sharer, Rich’s mother.

The family became part of a COVID-19 Long Haulers Facebook group, where Sharer said there are more questions than answers.

“We don’t even know what’s wrong with her really,” she said.

With the CDC expected Wednesday to approve the Pfizer vaccines for teenagers 12-15 years old, Sharer isn’t sure what the best thing is to do for her daughter.

She’s heard stories of some adults who were COVID long haulers getting better after the vaccine, but she’s still not sure because of her daughter’s condition.

“It’s like, which side do you go on, you know? And I’m not an anti-vaxxer or anything like that. I just, it’s scary,” said Sharer.

Vaccinating kids will be crucial for many school districts to reopen classes for the next school year.

Clinical trials have already begun on children younger than 12, however, for Alicia Rich and her family, they’re worried about now and if she can play soccer soon.

COVID-19 has been a tough opponent.

“Like, that’s all I do with my life is play soccer, but now it’s way different,” said Rich. “I can’t do it really. I get too much pain and it’s just not the same.”

More on the Utah COVID-19 Long Hauler Facebook group here.

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Utah Teen Suffering From Long-Haul COVID-19 Months After Infection