Slight stroke slows Bruschi

Posted: Friday, February 18, 2005

BOSTON — New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi suffered a mild stroke but is walking, talking and in good spirits, the team said.

Bruschi experienced temporary numbness, blurred vision and headaches Wednesday night and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital.

''It has been determined that these symptoms were the results of a mild stroke,'' team spokesman Stacey James said. ''Tedy is in good condition and, as always, his spirits are high. He is walking and talking normally and stressed that he would like to thank everyone for keeping him and his family in their thoughts and prayers.''

The Boston Globe, citing an unidentified team source, reported on its Web site Thursday that Bruschi had a broken blood vessel in his head and suffered from partial paralysis that has since gone away. A broken blood vessel can cause a stroke if it deprives the brain of oxygen.

The Patriots said Bruschi could be released as early as Friday.

''The outpouring of support has been overwhelming and the Bruschi family is very appreciative,'' James said.

In a phone call by Bruschi's wife, Heidi, to 911 on Wednesday, she said: ''He's having blurred vision, numbness on the right side of his body.

A nine-year NFL veteran, Bruschi is the centerpiece of the Patriots defense that helped the team win three of the past four Super Bowls, including a 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 6.

On Sunday, Bruschi played in his first Pro Bowl.

Bruschi, 31, was selected as the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week three times, including the first-round playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts. A second team Associated Press All-Pro selection, he ranked second on the team with 128 tackles and tied for second with three interceptions.

He had two fumble recoveries in the team's 20-3 playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts, and an interception in the Super Bowl.

An estimated 700,000 people per year in the United States suffer strokes. While broken blood vessels can cause them, a vast majority result from clots that block the brain's arteries.

Brian Mullen of the NHL's New York Islanders attempted a comeback two years after suffering a mild stroke and undergoing surgery to correct the heart problem that caused it in 1993. He had a seizure during his training and retired when no team would take a chance on him.

Houston Astros pitcher J.R. Richard, one of the most dominant right-handers of the late 1970's, had his career cut short when he suffered a blockage-caused stroke in 1980 at age 30. His comeback attempt was also unsuccessful.

Unlike heart attacks, strokes usually cause no pain, so the warning signs often are missed by victims and people around them. Symptoms include sudden weakness or numbness, dimness or loss of vision, difficulty or inability to speak and severe headaches.


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