WAVERLY, Iowa (KWWL) - The week before school started, 14-year-old Charlie Kramer was having flu-like symptoms.
"He had already been sick, we had been checking his temperature every four hours," mom Koula Kramer said.
On the night of August 19, his fever actually broke and the family thought it might have been a good sign. But when they came to check on him in the middle of the night, something was very wrong.
"He was really foggy, he couldn't really move his hand...definite signs of a stroke," Koula said.
Charlie had a stroke and the family rushed him 20 miles to Allen Hospital in Waterloo. In the following days, doctors said he had Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C. Charlie tested positive for antibodies for COVID-19 and the doctors say this was an after effect of the virus. Charlie was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Charlie's one of those kids that does everything right. And it makes you wonder why things like this happen to kids like him," Greg Stockdale said, a former football coach for Charlie and a friend of the Kramer family.
Charlie was transferred to UIHC soon after arriving at Allen. He has been communicating with facial expressions, nodding and some hand gestures. He is still unable to talk.
Doctors don't believe any of his brain damage is irreparable. They think he will be able to talk again and have a normal life after months of intense rehab.
"He realizes it's going to take some work, and they're going to give him the tools to just be able to move forward and be back to himself," Koula said.
While he can't start the season on the freshman football team at Waverly-Shell Rock High School, he's very much a part of the team. The team has been wearing "CK" and "CK Strong" stickers on their helmets. The varsity team is doing the same.
"Just be there for them. Don't be shy, open up about your feelings," Stockdale said about how people in the WSR community can support the Kramers.
Charlie was released from UIHC on Monday and is now staying at MercyOne Waterloo in a rehab facility.
Koula and her husband Steve attended the freshman football game Monday to watch Charlie's twin Camden play. They got to see many people for the first time since Charlie's stroke.
They know it's going to be a long battle, but they have no doubt he will come back from MIS-C.
"He's got his family behind him and lots of friends and the community and his school. The support has been really amazing," Koula said.