At a mere 139 pounds, Ryan Mead was a far cry from his 167-pound fighting weight. The Marysville-Pilchuck, Washington, high school senior is the captain of his wresting team. The fact that he showed up for the Class 4A District 1 Wresting Tournament in the first place was heroic, according to the Herald Net. Ryan had just recovered from a serious, life-threatening condition known as Stevens Johnson Syndrome, or SJS.
Late last December Ryan was diagnosed with pneumonia and days later he suffered a severe adverse reaction to the medication he was given to treat his illness. A rash formed over his body and his skin began to blister and peel away. Blisters also formed in his eyes and mouth, making his eyes and throat swell shut and leaving him unable to eat or drink. He stayed in the hospital for 12 days while doctors worked to save his life.
SJS is a rare but serious reaction to medication. More than 200 drugs have been linked to the condition, most commonly ibuprofen, antibiotics and anti-seizure medication. Some pharmaceutical companies are facing lawsuits from families affected by SJS, claiming they were not sufficiently warned of the possible life-threatening condition caused by the medications they or their family members were given. SJS, and its most severe form, toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), has a reported incidence of about one case per million people each year.
Ryan returned home from the hospital on Jan. 12. Though he was 28 pounds lighter and was extremely exhausted, he vowed to return to his wresting team. Last week he played in the tournament. Though he didn’t win, he says “I’m so glad to be back out there.”