Former NFL linebacker and current ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi is “recovering well” after suffering a stroke Thursday, his family said in a statement released Friday by his foundation, Tedy’s Team.
Bruschi, 46, “recognized his warning signs immediately: arm weakness, face drooping and speech difficulties” after suffering what was described as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), when blood flow to part of the brain stops for a short period of time.
Tedy’s Team has issued the following statement on behalf of the Bruschi family. pic.twitter.com/CuwmHobvl3
— Tedy’s Team (@TedysTeam) July 5, 2019
The family didn’t offer details about exactly where or when Bruschi suffered the episode, though it thanked the nurses, doctors and staff at Sturdy Memorial Hospital, which according to its website is in Attleboro, Massachusetts. The family asked for privacy at this time.
According to the National Stroke Organization, “(w)hile TIAs generally do not cause permanent brain damage, they are a serious warning sign that a stroke may happen in the future and should not be ignored.”
In February 2005, only 10 days after playing in Super Bowl 34 with the Patriots, Bruschi, 31 at the time, experienced temporary numbness, blurred vision and headaches and was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a mild stroke.
Bruschi experienced partial paralysis and after several months of rehabilitation, he announced he would sit out the 2005 NFL regular season. However, in mid-October of that year, the Patriots announced that he had been medically cleared to resume playing football and he rejoined the team.
He was activated Oct. 29 and played the next night against the Bills, eventually starting the remaining 10 regular-season games and one playoff game and sharing NFL Comeback Player of the Year for 2005 with Panthers receiver Steve Smith Sr.
Since that year, he has been a vocal advocate for stroke awareness and prevention.
Bruschi and his wife, Heidi, worked with the American Stroke Association to create Tedy’s Team, which “fight(s) against stroke and heart disease and honors both the survivors and the loved ones lost to the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 leading causes of death and No. 1 leading cause of disability.”
He played through the 2008 season before retiring in August 2009, capping a 13-season NFL career.
Bruschi joined ESPN as an analyst shortly after his retirement.
ESPN vice president Seth Markman was among those who quickly wished Bruschi well, tweeting, “Thankful that @TedyBruschi will be ok after this scary situation. He does so much incredible work for stroke awareness and immediately recognized the symptoms. All the best from everyone at ESPN.”