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A Young Mom Says She Was Blinded After Contracting A Flesh-Eating Bacteria During A Mud Run

“It looked like her cornea was melting off of her face," a friend told BuzzFeed News.

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Brittany Williams, a 23-year-old mother of one from McKinney, Texas, began to complain that her eye was bothering her soon after finishing the race, her friend, Megan McDonald, told BuzzFeed News.

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Williams' fiancé is a paramedic, and told her she probably had gotten some mud in her eye under her contact lens, her brother, Matthew Parker, told BuzzFeed News.

The couple washed out her contacts thoroughly, but when Williams woke up the next day her eye was red around the pupil.

The couple then realized how serious the situation was, and went to see an eye specialist.


They soon realized Williams was infected by bacteria from the mud after hurting her eye during the race. Parker said doctors believe it was a flesh-eating bacteria, but aren't sure what type. The infection caused Williams to go blind in the eye.

The story is frightening, but these infections are incredibly rare, ophthalmology experts told BuzzFeed News.

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Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialists at Vanderbilt University, said contracting a flesh-eating disease at all is rare, let alone in the eye.

"[It's] one in a million," he told BuzzFeed News, later adding he has never personally seen a flesh-eating disease infection that affected the eye, but that it's possible.

Another expert, Dr. Anne Sumers, told BuzzFeed News she thinks it is much more likely Williams suffered a corneal ulcer than a flesh-eating bacteria in her eye.

"(Flesh-eating bacteria) is very uncommon and indeed rarely reported in the medical journals. One study from two major medical centers only noted seven cases," said Sumers, who is the clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The experts said that while Williams' story is obviously frightening, people shouldn't be afraid of the same thing happening to them at a mud run.

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If someone experiences similar symptoms to Williams, Sumers said it is crucial they seek medical attention immediately.

"Mud runs aren't the problem," she said. "The problem here is not getting treatment early when serious symptoms crop up."

As for Williams, doctors have said she will likely need a cornea transplant if she wants to see again out of her affected eye, her brother said.


But Williams has struggled to receive treatment for her condition because she doesn't have health insurance.

McDonald told BuzzFeed News that her friend was in and out of the hospital for a few weeks, but eventually was told she could no longer be treated because she wasn't insured.

She has set up a GoFundMe account to help with her medical expenses.

“Brittany is just a through and through good person," she said.

Despite her ordeal, Williams is attempting to stay positive. She told the local CBS affiliate she's trying to make the best of what she called her "horror movie."


"Because there's no point in sitting and sulking, because it's just going to make the rest of my days miserable," she told the station.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Williams for comment.

Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at

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