On July 25, 2023, journalists reported that LeBron James' son Bronny James had suffered a cardiac arrest the previous day during basketball practice at the University of Southern California (USC), where he is an incoming freshman. He was taken to the hospital, where he was in stable condition at the time of this writing.
Almost as soon as the news was reported, claims began to spread on social media that the cardiac arrest was caused by the COVID-19 vaccine.
On Twitter, owner Elon Musk said, "We cannot ascribe everything to the vaccine, but, by the same token, we cannot ascribe nothing. Myocarditis is a known side-effect. The only question is whether it is rare or common."
We cannot ascribe everything to the vaccine, but, by the same token, we cannot ascribe nothing.
Myocarditis is a known side-effect. The only question is whether it is rare or common.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2023
There is no evidence that the COVIID-19 vaccine caused Bronny's cardiac arrest. We reached out to USC and will update this check if we learn anything new. (At the time of this writing, USC had told other reputable publications like CBS that it could not comment on the matter out of respect for student privacy.)
No reputable publication has reported that Bronny James' receiving the COVID-19 vaccine caused the cardiac arrest. The statement from a James family spokesperson about what had happened did not mention vaccines, let alone the COVID-19 vaccine:
USC All-American Bronny James collapsed on the court Monday and had a cardiac arrest. He was taken to the hospital and is now in stable condition and no longer in the ICU. Statement: pic.twitter.com/5z9F2qAWP0
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 25, 2023
There's no evidence to confirm that Bronny James has myocarditis, either. At the time of this writing, the cause for his cardiac arrest had not been reported. We also asked about that when we reached out to USC and will update this fact-check if we hear back. According to Insider, the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes in the U.S. is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which makes it difficult for a person's heart to take in or pump out enough blood.
Other athletes have suffered cardiac arrest unrelated to the COVID-19 vaccine, like Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who has said his January 2023 collapse was due to commotio cordis (a rare cardiac arrest immediately following a blow to the chest, according to the American Heart Association.)
With no evidence at this time linking the COVID-19 vaccine to Bronny James' cardiac arrest, we rate this claim as Unfounded. We have previously fact-checked claims that have linked the vaccine to sudden health issues of athletes, including an unfounded claim that Hamlin's cardiac arrest was related to the COVID-19 vaccine.