Posts Tagged ‘stroke’

Former College Football Player Makes a Comeback after Stroke Recovery

Patient David Jacobs & the Jacobs FamilyAs a defensive tackle on the University of Georgia’s football team, David Jacobs was at the top of his game, physically and mentally. But in November 2001, everything changed.

Jacobs had been feeling strange all week, even missing two football practices – a rarity for a player with his level of devotion. He’d had headaches and felt dizzy and lethargic. He chalked it up to his demanding schedule and dehydration. Hoping to play in the upcoming Ole Miss game, Jacobs headed back to practice, only to take a particularly hard hit that left the right side of his body numb and tingling – hallmark symptoms of stroke. Just minutes later, Jacobs became unconscious and unresponsive in the training room.

Jacobs was rushed to a local Athens hospital, where diagnostic tests revealed that David would need advanced care for a stroke. He was transported by helicopter to Emory University Hospital, Atlanta’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center. David learned that he’d had an occlusion in his vertebral artery, which serves as a major supplier of blood to the brain. A blood clot followed developed, disrupting blood flow to the brain. When the brain doesn’t receive enough blood, a stroke occurs.

“I went from working hard everyday on the field to having a stroke, just like that,” Jacobs recalls.

At one point, the prognosis was grim. While he was unable to talk, eat or walk, David’s family prayed by his bedside that his condition would improve so that he wouldn’t have to undergo risky surgery. Their prayers were answered.

“I remember that bit by bit, we began to see signs that he was starting to improve,” says Desiree Jacobs, David’s wife, who was his girlfriend at the time of his stroke. “If there’s one thing to know about David, it’s that he’s a fighter, not just on the field, but in all areas of his life. Surviving this was no different for him.”

David spent a month in Emory University Hospital’s Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit. From there, he moved to Emory’s Center for Rehabilitation Medicine, a multidisciplinary center that provides ongoing care for patients who have undergone a stroke or spinal cord injury, or individuals with neurological damage, musculoskeletal problems, pain, amputations and chronic disease. There, he would spend three months learning to walk, eat and do the basic things that used to come so easily to an athlete of his caliber. His care team consisted of physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists, case managers, dietitians, doctors and nurses, all whom had a hand in David’s recovery.

Looking back, of the many things David had learned, listening to his body has been the most essential.

“My body had been warning me that something wasn’t right,” David says. “It’s important to know the signs of stroke, like a sudden severe headache, trouble speaking and numbness so that you can get treatment right away.”

Now nearly 11 years later, David is married with two young sons and works full time as an account manager in the mortgage industry. Tall and athletic, David certainly looks the part of former football player. But, the role he’s most proud of? Stroke survivor. Learn more about David’s journey in the video below:

Read more about David’s story on espn.com and UGA’s athletics website.

Related Resources:

What is the Difference Between a Heart Attack and Stroke?

Although the risks and effects can be similar, heart attacks and stroke are two different medical problems with different symptoms. While both are vascular events, meaning they involve the blood vessels, mainly the arteries, they affect different organs in the body. However, for both heart attack and stoke victims, every minute counts!

Heart attacks occur when a coronary artery is blocked, usually as a result of progressive coronary artery disease (CAD). With CAD, plaque builds up in the arteries preventing oxygen-rich blood from reaching the heart. Every minute that the cardiac tissue goes without oxygen results in more damage to the heart muscle – hence the saying “time is muscle.” The key is to get the blocked artery opened as fast as possible, to prevent further damage to the heart muscle and improve chances for survival.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States . A stroke is a “brain attack”, and occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot, or bursts. When that happens, brain cells in the part of the brain that cannot get blood begin to die. Stroke treatment is most effective when given within the first few hours after a stroke has occurred, so it’s important to recognize the symptoms and act quickly.

Heart attack and stroke risk factors

Although heart attack and stroke are different, the risk factors are the same for both:

– Smoking
– High blood pressure
– High cholesterol
– Diabetes
– Sedentary lifestyle
– Family history
– Atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm)

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack vs. Stroke

Heart Attack

  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Discomfort in arms, back, neck, jaw or upper stomach
  • Nausea
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy

Stroke

  • Face drooping — Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
  • Arm weakness — Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech difficulty — Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 9-1-1 — If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Do you know how to recognize stroke symptoms and when to “Act F.A.S.T.“? Are you familiar with the symptoms of a heart attack?

Stroke Awareness Month Events at Emory Healthcare

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke, according to the National Stroke Association. In recognition of May as National Stroke Awareness Month, Emory Healthcare encourages you to learn the signs, symptoms and risk factors for stroke. Mark your calendar for the following events:

Community Stroke Fair
When: Wednesday, May 15, 2013; 11:00 am to 2 pm
Where: Emory University Hospital Midtown Medical Office Tower Lobby
Why:
• Learn the signs and symptoms of stroke
• Ask a neurologist about stroke care
• Hear about stroke rehabilitation programs
• Speak to a pharmacist
• Get your BMI checked
• Hear about stroke rehabilitation programs

Stroke Awareness Fair
When:Friday, May 30 31, 2013; 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Emory University Hospital
Auditorium, Classrooms B and C
Join us to:
• Learn the signs and symptoms of stroke
• Understand how to manage blood pressure, exercise properly and maintain a healthy diet
• Participate in a community stroke lecture at noon

Stroke is an emergency. If you or someone around you is experiencing signs or symptoms of stroke, CALL 911 immediately.

Related Resources

Become Aware of the Risks, Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

Dr. Fadi Nahab, stroke director at Emory University Hospital and Emory University Hospital Midtown, recently conducted a chat to address the signs and symptoms of stroke, as well as what you can do to decrease your risk. Dr. Nahab’s timing couldn’t be better. May is National Stroke Awareness Month – the perfect time to brush up on your knowledge of stroke and commit to reducing your own risk factors for stroke.

Stroke remains the country’s leading cause of disability. Fortunately, Emory Healthcare is committed to providing excellent stroke care throughout North Georgia. In fact, Emory University Hospital recently was named Atlanta’s first certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, while Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory Johns Creek Hospital and Saint Joseph’s Hospital all are certified Primary Stroke Centers.

Emory Hospital First in Atlanta to Earn Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

Joint Commission Stroke Center Certification

Congratulations to Emory University Hospital who recently joined an elite group of fewer than 30 centers nationwide with its Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association! Emory University Hospital is the only hospital in metropolitan Atlanta to earn this designation and just one of two in Georgia. Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification recognizes only those hospitals that have state-of-the-art infrastructure, staff and training to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes. Emory University Hospital underwent a rigorous onsite review by The Joint Commission in February 2013.

So, what does this all mean for you? It means that our Emory University Hospital stroke team provides advanced care, including:

  • A state-of-the-art neurointensive care unit, created especially for critically ill stroke patients
  • Neurosurgical interventions for complex conditions that can arise in stroke patients
  • Advanced imaging capabilities
  • Fellowship-trained neurointensivists available 24/7, ready to perform vascular procedures if needed
  • Access to a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including board-certified fellowship-trained stroke neurologists, world-renowned vascular neurosurgeons, highly skilled and experienced interventional neuroradiologists, a board-Certified and fellowship trained neurocritical care team and diagnostic neuroradiologists
  • Thirty-four neurocritical-care unit beds, six neuro step-down or intermediate-care beds and 41 acute-care floor beds

Emory Stroke Center CertificationThe Emory Stroke Center team provides 24/7 coverage and receives early warning about a patient arriving with stroke symptoms. This early notification ensures rapid assessment and stabilization, and an immediate CT brain scan to establish onset time and to determine eligibility for various treatment options.

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. Immediate treatment is essential when someone is having a stroke to reduce the effects and potential for permanent disability. Not close to Emory when an emergency strikes? Nearly half of our patients are transferred from other hospitals, and most of those arrive via helicopter. The Emory Healthcare system also has three Primary Stroke Centers accredited by The Joint Commission, including Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory Johns Creek Hospital and Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

Related Resources: