Teen footballer misdiagnosed with long Covid before doctors find brain tumour

Kane is now recovering from an operation to remove it (Picture: Cavendish Press)

A teenager was found to have a potentially deadly brain tumour after suffering persistent headaches.

Despite being taken to A&E, neurological tests apparently didn’t catch anything amiss in Kane Allcock, 15.

Given he tested positive for coronavirus on New Year’s Eve in 2021, medics mistakenly assumed he had migraines that were likely being caused by long Covid and the teenager was given codeine painkillers.

Kane, who plays for Crewe Alexandra’s youth team, later started to suffer even more severe headaches, as well as nausea and dizziness that made it hard for him to walk.

Kane’s mum Nicki, a medical secretary for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) from Crewe, said: ‘We’d travelled 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 centre.

Younger Kane with sports trophies

Younger Kane with sports trophies (Picture: Nicki Allcock/ Cavendish Press)

‘They did a full examination and concluded that he may have been suffering from post-Covid vertigo, and he was given codeine.

‘But the following day, Kane was feeling too poorly to play football, so we took him home, and then 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.’

After being readmitted to hospital, he suffered a seizure and was sent for an MRI scan which revealed Kane actually had a tumour as well as acute hydrocephalus, which is a build-up of pressure on the brain caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

He was then transferred by ambulance to Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool, where he went through a seven-and-a-half-hour operation to remove the tumour and is now recovering well.

Kane after his surgery (Picture: Nicki Allcock/ Cavendish Press)

Thankfully, it was found that it was a non-cancerous pilocytic astrocytoma, but the family’s ordeal didn’t end there.

Mother of two Nicki 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 theatre for an operation to treat the hydrocephalus.

‘Just two days later, on April 19, he went into theatre 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.

‘We followed in the car, and it was the longest 50 minutes of our lives’ (Picture: Nicki Allcock/Cavendish Press)

‘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 May 1 and Kane was discharged home the following day.’

During both of Kane’s hospital stays, his parents were accommodated at Ronald McDonald House Alder Hey, which is the biggest in Europe.

Nicki said: ‘Kane’s dad Steve and I had planned to bring the campervan up, and we would’ve stayed in that, but we were assured there was a bed for us at the House and that we could stay there for as long as we needed to.

‘To be staying on the site of the hospital, just a short walk away from Kane, was incredible. The House is amazing and provides a place to call home whilst families are going through the most difficult time of their lives.’

Wanting to give back after everything they’d been through, the Allcock family teamed up with Kane’s football club, Crewe FC, to raise funds for Alder Hey Children’s Charity and Ronald McDonald House Charities UK.

So far, their combined efforts have helped raise over £3,000.

Kane’s mum Nicky (Picture: Nicki Allcock/Cavendish Press)

Philippa Bradbury, regional community fundraiser at Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, said: ‘We were so sorry to hear all that Kane and his family have been through but pleased that he’s recovering well and that his prognosis is good.

‘As a charity, it is our pleasure to be able to support families like the Allcocks, helping to ease the financial and emotional burden of having a sick child in hospital.

‘We’re so grateful to Crewe FC, Shavington Academy and to Kane’s family for raising vital funds for our Charity. Each year we help thousands of families stay close to their children in hospital. The money raised by Kane’s community will help us to continue our work to support more families like his.’

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