Mystery Disease Sidelines Student



For Ethan McCollum, 23, football has always been his favorite sport.

“I’ve always been an athlete, I played a season of college football at a small school freshman year.”

But on the same day as the biggest national football game of the year, Ethan’s life changed.

“The day of Super Bowl 50, I just started feeling like out of it.”

What he thought was just dehydration quickly became something more serious.

“So it started with just like this pressure in the back of my head which was causing me to have blurry vision and I couldn’t really focus on things.”

As time went on, his symptoms only got worse. His legs grew weak, making it hard to walk and lower back pain made it difficult to stand and sit up. His symptoms got so bad he had to leave UNT.

“The first few doctors started making me doubt myself like oh well you know am I just like imagining these symptoms I was like I wish that I was.”

He’s visited multiple doctors and has had dozens of tests run, but Ethan still has no real idea what is going on.

“Mainly at this point, he’s unable to get his answers because we don’t have all the information. He’s seen several providers, mostly in the primary care setting or student health setting and they’re limited in what they can test for and what they can do,” Dr. Russ Skinner, Ethan’s doctor said.

Each visit to a specialist costs hundreds of dollars. Money that Ethan doesn’t have, which means he can’t get all the tests he needs. His mom set up a Go Fund Me to help with costs and in just a few months, over $2500 has been raised. But nearly all of the funds have already been exhausted.

“It’s really helped me just in the past few months be able to see specialists I wouldn’t be able to see because I just couldn’t pay for it”

Now Ethan spends most of his days at home in Gainesville. He is planning on seeing more specialists in the near future and hopes to finish up his time at UNT soon.


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