| 18.5°C Dublin

Alex loved football -- now he gets exhausted and emotional

ALEX Lawless loved nothing more than to tog out for a GAA match, but these days the seven-year-old is forced to look on from the sidelines because of exhaustion.

Alex, from Kenilworth Square in Rathgar, Dublin, is one of the children who received the swine flu vaccine and later developed the disabling symptoms of the sleeping disorder, narcolepsy.

He went from being a boistrous youngster with endless energy to a child who had to sleep for three hours every afternoon.

His mother, Mairead, spoke last night of the heartbreak of witnessing the devastating change in her son which led to 12 months of tests and investigations before his diagnosis.

Alex was found to have the incurable condition, which left him at the mercy of falling asleep suddenly and unexpectedly.

"I am in no doubt that the swine flu vaccine led to his condition. He is now medicated and on the drug Ritalin.

"It helps to some extent and dulls the symptoms down a bit. If he was unmedicated he would sleep for two to three hours every afternoon, and apart from that there are dreadful nightmares and disturbed sleep.

"He also suffered weight gain and that has stabilised since he has gone on the drug. He goes to school every day but he sometimes falls asleep in class.

"He would also lose concentration. That is one of the big problems. The Beavers scouts are his only outlet.

"He is not really able for sports because he gets exhausted and emotional."

Irish Independent