The Teenager Who Collapses Whenever She LAUGHS. A Condition Called Cataplexy

Jordan was taking to different doctors for months, who run all kinds of tests on her. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with her. She is pictured having a test for sleep apnoea

A teenager collapses with sudden muscle paralysis when she laughs as a complication of narcolepsy. 

Jordan Coomer, 15, is at risk of crumpling to the ground for around half a minute any time she giggles. Her body is frozen but her brain is still conscious.

The unusual ailment, called cataplexy, was discovered shortly after her narcolepsy, a brain disorder that causes a person to randomly fall asleep multiple times a day.

Doctors have recorded Jordan having 20-minute naps every two hours, which can happen during classes or when she is eating.

Narcolepsy can be onset by a viral infection – and Jordan remembers having a week-long throat infection in February 2016, a year before her diagnosis.

The two conditions have taken their toll on Jordan, whose persistent napping was initially brushed off as part of puberty.

Jordan Coomer, 15, collapses when she laughs, a condition called cataplexy

Jordan, from Indiana, said: ‘Adjusting to the disease has been hard; at first I was very upset and just couldn’t figure out why it had to be me.

‘I have dreams and want to do so much, and to learn that you have a disease that will ultimately affect the rest of your life and what you do was extremely hard.

‘Over time, though, I’ve come to accept it and embrace it.’

Jordan’s problems started in the summer of 2016 when she started sleeping more often than normal.

Her mother, office assistant Victoria Coomer, 50, said: ‘We attributed it to just growing up, but it continued to get worse.

‘She was falling asleep in class, at the table when I was talking to her and when she was doing her homework.

‘Any time that she was still, or it was quiet she would fall asleep. Her face would get droopy, she would slur her words and her jaw would go slack and she was having hallucination and nightmares.’ 

People with narcolepsy have excessive, uncontrollable daytime sleepiness because they cannot control their sleep-wake cycles.


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