Nineteen-year-old North Carolina university student in “tremendous shape” dies from COVID-19 | #students | #parents

On Monday, a 19-year-old college student at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, died from neurological complications after contracting COVID-19. Chad Dorrill, described as being in “tremendous shape” by his uncle, contracted the virus after his return to Boone for fall classes.

After developing flu-like symptoms, Dorrill returned home, where he tested positive on September 7. After quarantining for 10 days, and being cleared by his doctor, he returned to school. Soon afterward, he began suffering serious neurological problems. “When he tried to get out of bed his legs were not working, and my brother had to carry him to the car and take him to the emergency room,” his uncle, David Dorrill, told the New York Times. “It was a COVID complication that rather than attacking his respiratory system attacked his brain.”

Chad Dorrill (Family photo)

Dorrill was a long-distance runner and former high school basketball player. “He was healthy. … Skinny. Could run six miles without any issue. He ran with us less than three weeks ago, in fact. He was healthy—until this hit,” his uncle explained.

According to Tonia Maxcy, a family friend, doctors suspect that COVID-19 triggered an undetected case of Guillain-Barré syndrome in Dorrill. Guillain-Barré causes the body’s immune system to attack nerve cells. It was also linked to the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil in 2015, where it caused paralysis in those affected by the syndrome. As of June 29, according to the journal Neurological Sciences, there have been approximately 31 reported cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome caused by COVID-19 worldwide.

Significantly, Dorrill was living off-campus, taking only online courses and, according to his uncle, “told us he was always careful to wear a mask.” Yet, he still contracted the virus, leading to his completely avoidable death. His mother, Susan Dorrill, said that “if it can happen to a super healthy 19-year-old boy who doesn’t smoke, vape or do drugs, it can happen to anyone.”


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