Disease & Illness

This Hockey Player Had A 25-Inch Tapeworm

Yikes! This is scary.

In August 2017, then-Miami University of Ohio hockey player Carson Meyer began experiencing a number of unexplained symptoms. The normally healthy college athlete felt tired, lost his appetite and was losing weight. After a number of tests, doctors were stumped as to what was causing this formerly healthy young man’s troubling symptoms.

But on Feb. 27, Meyer finally discovered the shocking reason he’d been feeling ill. After going to the bathroom, he realized he had passed a 25-inch, orange tapeworm.

Meyer was understandably distraught, but was also relieved to finally have an answer about what was causing his disturbing symptoms. The tapeworm turned out to be a diphyllobothrium latum, the largest tapeworm that can infect people. It can grow up to 30 feet long. Infections are caused by eating raw or undercooked fish.

Based on the size of the worm, doctors said it had likely been in his body for over a year.

Diphyllobothrium Infection photo
Flickr | Iqbal Osman1

Meyer began taking anti-parasitic medication to eliminate any possible remaining parts of the tapeworm. Within a month, he began to see his symptoms improve.

“I honestly was starting to think that it was all in my head, and that got me really worried,” Meyer told People. “But about a month after we got an answer, I started feeling like myself again, and I feel really good now.”

While Meyer’s story is certainly scary, there are steps you can take to prevent becoming infected. This type of tapeworm is caused by eating undercooked fish, so the CDC recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. While most infections are asymptomatic, you may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting as well as weight loss, as Meyer did. If you are having such unexplained symptoms, see your doctor. There are safe and effective medications to treat an infection.

We’re so glad that Meyer is on the road to recovery!