Fact Check

No Evidence COVID-19 Vaccine Caused Bronny James' Cardiac Arrest

There’s no evidence confirming that Bronny James has myocarditis, either.

Published Jul 25, 2023

 (Kevin Mazur/Contributor, Getty Images)
Image Via Kevin Mazur/Contributor, Getty Images
Basketball player Bronny James suffered a cardiac arrest during practice in July 2023 because of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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. 

We found the claim on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Reddit:

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."

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:

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.

Snopes is still fighting an "infodemic" of rumors and misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and you can help. Find out what we've learned and how to inoculate yourself against COVID-19 misinformation. Read the latest fact checks about the vaccines. Submit any questionable rumors and "advice" you encounter. Become a Founding Member to help us hire more fact-checkers. And, please, follow the CDC or WHO for guidance on protecting your community from the disease.


Brito, Christopher. "Bronny James, LeBron James' Son, Suffers Cardiac Arrest during USC Practice. Here's What We Know so Far." CBS News, 25 July 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bronny-james-cardiac-arrest-lebron-james-son-heart-attack-usc/.

Cohen, Rebecca and Hilary Brueck. "Elon Musk Is Using Bronny James' Cardiac Arrest to Baselessly Spout Anti-Vaccine Talking Points." Insider, https://www.insider.com/elon-musk-bronny-james-cardiac-arrest-anti-covid-vaccine-2023-7. Accessed 25 July 2023.

"https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/Status/1683847244573712385." Twitter, https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1683847244573712385. Accessed 25 July 2023.

"Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy." Penn Medicine, Penn Medicine, https://www.pennmedicine.org/for-patients-and-visitors/patient-information/conditions-treated-a-to-z/hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy#:~:text=Hypertrophic%20cardiomyopathy%20(HCM)%20is%20a,to%20supply%20the%20body%E2%80%99s%20needs.

Liles, Jordan. "Zero Evidence 'Dr. Benjamin Eidelman' Gave Damar Hamlin COVID Booster Days Before Collapse." Snopes, 4 Jan. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/dr-benjamin-eidelman-damar-hamlin-covid-booster/.

Merschel, Michael. "What Is Commotio Cordis, Which NFL Player Damar Hamlin Says Stopped His Heart?" American Heart Association News, https://www.heart.org/en/news/2023/04/18/what-is-commotio-cordis-which-nfl-player-damar-hamlin-says-stopped-his-heart. Accessed 25 July 2023.

Osborne, Mark. "Bronny James, LeBron's Son, Suffers Cardiac Arrest during Basketball Practice at USC." ABC News, https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/bronny-james-lebrons-son-suffers-cardiac-arrest-workout/story?id=101635526. Accessed 25 July 2023.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.