Imagine waking up in the middle of the night with a blinding headache and some numbness down the left side of your body. A few hours later, your exuberant young son is jumping on the bed beside you, but for some reason you can’t see him. What happened to your peripheral vision? Are you having a nightmare, or some terrible case of the flu?
You are 31 years old. You have the body of a professional athlete. In fact, you have just won your 3rd Super Bowl championship… What the &%$#@* is
Of course this is Tedy Bruschi’s story. And for his fans, family and friends,
thankfully this is also Heidi Bruschi’s story. Heidi didn’t hesitate; she called 911 immediately.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month. If you had been in Heidi’s position, how many of these classic warning signs would you have recognized?
- Weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg – particularly on one side of the body
- Mental confusion
- Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Difficulty seeing from one eye or both eyes
- Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, difficulty walking
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
The National Stroke Association has developed an easy checklist for anyone who suspects that s/he is witnessing a stroke. Just think FAST:
Face – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech – Say a simple phrase and ask the person to repeat it. Does
his/her speech sound slurred or strange?
Time – If you observe the first 3 symptoms, call 911 IMMEDIATELY.
As home to the most comprehensive stroke rehabilitation program in New England, Spaulding provides an unsurpassed level of care, individually tailored to meet each patient’s unique needs. Our expert staff, state-of-the-art stroke-specific treatments, and advanced technology all help stroke survivors to achieve their highest level of function.
Six days after Tedy’s stroke, the Spaulding team developed a physical therapy
plan that required hard work, perseverance and total commitment -- from Tedy, his family, and his multidisciplinary care team. You can hear Tedy describe this experience in his own words by watching the attached video.
As Tedy’s story reminds us, stroke can happen to people who are young or old,
inactive or in prime athletic condition. Please take a moment to memorize the warning signs. You never know when you might need to act FAST.