Sunday, April 1, 2012

Amazing Story of an 18 Year Old Stroke Survivor

by Chuck Jones

I obtained the following photo and article excerpts from The Dagger written by sports writer Jeff Eisenberg, a College Basketball blogger for Yahoo! Sports.  The Dagger is a Yahoo Sports blog site:

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaab-the-dagger

On March 26, 2009, Weissman suffered a stroke that initially paralyzed the entire left side of his body and left him unable to walk for two weeks. One of his primary motivations during rehab the past three years has been to return to the Gettysburg basketball program and experience the joy of playing in a game again.

He refused to give up on his dream when doctors warned him he might never regain the full use of the left side of his body. Or when he regularly suffered from seizures as a result of the damage to his brain. Or when he trailed behind his friends going to and from class because he couldn't walk at the same speed as them.

"I looked at my stroke as a challenge," Weissman said. "It was almost like I was competing against the stroke and I wasn't going to let it beat me. Ever since it happened, I've been working at not letting the stroke beat me. The reason I'm doing so well is because I'm working a lot harder than the stroke is."
Weissman experienced no symptoms or warning signs that suggested he was at risk of a stroke either in high school or college, so he had no reason to be wary when he didn't feel well during a routine weightlifting session soon after his freshman season at Gettysburg.

Despite a throbbing headache worse than any he'd ever experienced, he kept doing bench presses and bicep curls as though nothing was wrong. Only after his left hand stopped working did Weissman tell teammate Brendan Trelease he thought he should probably stop.

When Trelease took Weissman out of the weight room to get a drink of water, Weissman had to sit against the wall after he began swaying back and forth and feeling dizzy. It was then that Trelease decided he needed to get Weissman to the training room as quickly as possible.

"About halfway to the training room, I started stumbling because my left leg started dying," Weissman recalled. "One of the last completely clear visions I have that I'll never be able to forget was coming through the training room doors. My head was completely down because I didn't have the strength to lift it up. I looked down at my left leg and saw it dragging behind me, just completely dead. That's an image I'll never forget."

Once Weissman burst through the doors of the training room, it didn't take long for first-year athletic trainer Katie Whaley to realize this was more than a typical case of an athlete getting dizzy after overexerting himself during a workout.

"At that point I knew he was having a stroke, but I couldn't believe it," Whaley said. "You don't think an 18-year-old is having a stroke. That's not something your mind goes straight to."

For the rest of this amazing story and included comments go to:
 Act of sportsmanship highlights player’s return from a stroke

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