Story of Strength
Working through rehabilitation after his stroke, Tedy Bruschi and his doctors at Spaulding never gave up. That's not how you win the game.Read the full story ...
Just days after winning his third Super Bowl and playing in his first Pro Bowl, Tedy Bruschi faced his toughest opponent yet: a stroke. Tedy presented at the hospital with a headache, blurred vision and numbness and subsequently was diagnosed as having had a mild stroke. Initially attributing earlier symptoms to standard postgame aches and pains, Tedy and his wife, Heidi, now recognize those symptoms as the initial signs of stroke.
Tedy suffered from a patent foramen ovale, a congenital heart defect that leaves a small hole in the wall separating the left and right atria of the heart. As a result, Tedy announced he would sit out the 2005 NFL season.
After several months of intensive rehabilitation therapy with a team of specialists from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, and with the support of his wife and family, Tedy made a stunning recovery.
On October 16, just eight months after Tedy's stroke, the Patriots announced that he was medically cleared to resume playing football, and three days later he rejoined the team on the practice field. Nearly two weeks later, on October 29, the Patriots officially activated Tedy, who played his first game postrecovery the following night.
Tedy was the first NFL player to return to the field following a stroke, and he now advocates for stroke awareness. He is the author of the best seller "Never Give Up: My Stroke, My Recovery, and My Return to the NFL."
Seven years after Tedy’s stroke, he and Heidi now value their good fortune and their family more than ever. The parents of three children, they are deeply committed to educating others about signs of stroke as well as stroke awareness and prevention. They speak to stroke survivors and survivors’ families about their own story and how to find strength beyond stroke.
Tedy, who now works as an NFL analyst for ESPN, was voted to serve on the board of trustees for Partners Continuing Care, which includes the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network.
"I have a special relationship with Partners Continuing Care, having been a patient at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital myself once. Seeing the great people who work there and the amazing things they do to help patients is inspiring," Tedy told the hospital. "To be able to now serve as a voice and advocate for people facing difficult times like I once did is truly an honor for me."