BLACKWELL, Okla. (KFOR) – A 16-year-old Blackwell football player is making a miraculous recovery from COVID-19, double pneumonia and strep after being in the ICU on a ventilator, with doctors saying it was a bleak outlook.
It’s some good news coming out of a story that originally looked bleak for the Barnett family. Levi, a football player in Blackwell who has high functioning autism, was in the ICU, placed on a full ventilator for COVID-19 and other illnesses. However, his mom, Heatherlynn, stayed hopeful. Now, it looks like she’s going to get to see her boy come home.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Heatherlynn Barnett, Levi’s mom. “There’s no greater feeling than to just see my boy breathing, to see him moving, to see him up.”
The statements made by Barnett about her son, Thursday afternoon, are a far cry from when KFOR first spoke to her on Sept. 10.
“Every day is just heart wrenching seeing him lay there and suffer,” Barnett said in our original story on the situation in September.
It was nearly a month ago when Levi was rushed to the hospital with severe headaches, a high fever and unable to breathe. That’s when he was diagnosed with COVID-19, double pneumonia and strep throat. Barnett and her fiancé, Frankie Blakely, were by his side the whole time, hoping for the best.
“It gets depressing,” Barnett said in our original story. “You just sit there and you watch your sick child and all you can do is just pray for them to be better.”
“It’s been pretty rough,” her fiancé Blakely said in our original story.
Doctors were preparing the family for the worst.
“There’s several nights where they came in there and they’re like, ‘We just don’t know if he’s going to pull through,’” Barnett said. “I said, ‘He’s going to make it. He’s a fighter.'”
Turns out, Levi is a fighter. Nearly two weeks to the day and he is making a miraculous recovery.
“I just feel like he’s truly a miracle,” Barnett said.
Off the ventilator, out of the ICU and even up and walking around, doctors still say it will be several more days before he gets out. But he is recovering well.
“I’m just like, ‘Wow,’” Barnett said. “This is awesome.”
The football player has been in contact with his coaches and has spent his spare time drawing pictures. The mother said she and her son are ready to get back on the field and in the bleachers, just weeks after they thought it may never happen again.
“He knows he’s coming home,” Barnett said. “Our relationship is stronger. I’ve been by his side from day one.”
Doctors have told Barnett that her son will be a “COVID-19 long-hauler” with lasting side effects from the virus. He is also going through some physical therapy, setting his sights on coming home soon.