FACT CHECK: Did This NFL Player Suffer A COVID-19 Vaccine-Related Heart Attack During A Game?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims to show Los Angeles Chargers tight end Donald Parham Jr. suffering a COVID-19 vaccine-related heart attack during a game.

Verdict: False

Parham suffered a concussion, not a heart issue. He has posted updates on social media about his condition since receiving the concussion.

Fact Check: 

The Kansas City Chiefs played the Chargers on Dec. 16, defeating them 34-28, according to ESPN. During that game, Parham suffered an injury, prompting some Facebook and Twitter users to share footage of the incident along with claims it shows the tight end experiencing a heart issue due to COVID-19 vaccination.

Video from the game shows Parham catching the football before his head hits the ground, causing him to lose the ball and his arms to go stiff. The Los Angeles Chargers tweeted Dec. 16 that Parham was “currently undergoing tests, imaging and evaluation for a head injury at UCLA Harbor Medical Center.” The following day, the team said in a tweet that he had “stayed overnight at UCLA Harbor Medical Center for observation after being diagnosed with a concussion” and was likely going to be discharged later that day.

Some medical experts, including NBC Sports medicine analyst Mike Ryan, sports medicine physician Dr. Jesse Moore and physiatrist Dr. Brian Sutterer, said Parham’s arms exhibited a “fencing response.” For instance, Sutterer said in a YouTube video, “This response we saw from Parham where his arms were basically locked and sort of appeared to be stuck in this position, this is a sign of brain injury. This is a sign of a concussion, it’s something we refer to as a sort of fencing response.”

The Los Angeles Chargers injury report for Week 16 lists Parham as being out due to a concussion. Parham posted about the incident on Instagram Dec. 19, saying it “opened my eyes to alot.” (RELATED: Did Larry Bird Tell NBA Players To ‘Shut Up And Play The Damn Game’?)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Donald D. Parham Jr. (@jiggydd_89)

“The fact that i am able to come out of such a traumatizing situation with no residual problems is such a testament to God and his Glory,” he wrote on Instagram. “I am so very thankful to all the people who sent out prayers and well wishes (Yes even the non chargers fans) because as an athlete you face so much adversity on a daily basis and to know that people care so much about our health and well being gives so much motivation to keep going no matter what! So just know i will be back, smiling, and stronger than before!”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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