12-year-old Triangle hockey player beats rare disease to get back on ice


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A 12-year-old in the Triangle is back on the ice doing what he loves after a disease stopped his young hockey career in its tracks.

Tyler Singletary contracted Kawasaki Disease in October. It causes weight loss and hallucinations. It flustered his doctors, had his parents on edge, and kept him out of the rink. It began with a fever, but as the weeks went on, his condition got worse.

“Through Saturday and even Sunday, it was touch-and-go. He was on epidrip, full oxygen, and everything. They were not gaining ground on the disease at that time,” said father Jason Singletary.

His mother Karen Singletary added: “When the hallucinations start, that’s about the time, as a parent, (you) can no longer control your emotions. We were really scared at that point and time. That was scary.”

(Courtesy of the Singletary family)

After 48 hours with IVs in both arms, 50 percent oxygen, and a heart rate of 130 beats per minute, doctors diagnosed Tyler with the disorder, which is rare in children.

“Pretty scary because there were things that I normally don’t see in my room, and I was like, ‘Something’s wrong,'” Tyler recalled.

Now that the illness is behind him, Tyler has quickly turned his focus back to his favorite sport. The road back was a tough one, though.

“I remember getting back and we’d do relay drills,” he said. “People would just crush me and I got so frustrated with myself.”

The disease sapped Tyler of much of his strength. He lost about 10 percent of his weight to the illness.

“His strength wasn’t there. He couldn’t go, but he wanted to be normal again,” his father said. “That was one of the things he told me throughout is, ‘Dad, I just want to go home. I want to get back to life.'”

It’s been a tough road. Now four months later, Tyler has most of his life back. He’s spending time with his friends, clutching his stick, and skating freely with the disease behind him.

“I just love being back playing and being back at 100 percent,” Tyler said.

Tyler only missed three games due to the sickness. In fact, he dressed and warmed up with his team just four days after getting out of the hospital, but was too weak to play.

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