Family Shares Warning After College Rower Mistakes Fatal ‘Forgotten Disease’ For Tonsillitis

by Caralynn Lippo
Caralynn is a Brooklyn, NY-based editor and writer, with a focus on lifestyle and entertainment content. She has bylines on MSN, HelloGiggles, Business Insider, Romper, Redbook Magazine, and more. In her free time, she enjoys watching (and talking!) about television and fostering dogs through a local rescue.

The heartbroken family and friends of Samantha Scott are speaking out after losing the college athlete to a rare disease.

KDVR Denver reports that Samantha, who was a four-year member of the rowing team at Kansas State University, came down with a throat infection in October 2018. The architectural engineering student initially put down her symptoms to tonsillitis, a common and typically nondangerous inflammation of the tonsils that causes a sore throat, fever, and pain while swallowing.

Sadly, Samantha’s illness was something far more serious.

The 23-year-old college senior’s condition rapidly deteriorated, and doctors eventually realized that Samantha had developed Lemierre syndrome.

According to Live Science, this illness is incredibly rare, to the point that one 2006 medical case study referred to it as an “all-but-forgotten disease.” The bacterial infection begins in the throat and spreads through the lymphatic vessels, including to the lungs.

Unfortunately, by the time the Colorado native was diagnosed, it was too late. Samantha died on October 27, 2018.

“Samantha was a great leader for our program and more importantly a great person,” rowing team head coach Patrick Sweeney said in a statement released by Kansas State University. “She was so well-liked by all of her teammates and had such a big impact on our program both on and off the water. We are all still in a state of shock, and we will continue to keep her family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Samantha’s longtime best friend Kennidi Cobbley set up a GoFundMe page to help support the Scott family, establish a college scholarship fund in her name, and spread awareness about Lemierre syndrome. To learn more about the disease, its symptoms, and the importance of speedy treatment, visit the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center.

Footage provided by KDVR Denver

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