The Irish League’s best player has revealed how he suffered a stroke the day after the final match of his career.
aNdy Waterworth, who won multiple trophies in his illustrious career with the likes of Glentoran and Linfield, remembered the shock of hearing the news after being hospitalized with vision problems.
Speaking today to raise awareness, she warns that a stroke can happen to anyone at any age.
Waterworth, 36, fell ill earlier this year.
He played the final football game of his career at Glenavon on April 23 and retired from the sport.
The next morning, I woke up at 6am with blurry vision.
“I looked at the windows and paintings in the room and saw two of each.
“I said okay, had breakfast, showered and got my daughter ready.
“When my vision didn’t return, I asked my wife, ‘What if I had a stroke?’ said, raising symptoms of stroke, slurred speech, etc.).”
“My wife took me to the hospital and had a lot of tests. They couldn’t understand why I had poor eyesight and poor balance.
“Then I had two CT scans, one of which was abnormal. They told me I had an unexplained stroke.”
He continued, “It was a shock. I didn’t think I would have a stroke even after a million years.
“As an athlete, health and wellness is a top priority and it was incredible to be fit and healthy one moment and paralyzed the next.
“I was transferred to the Royal Victorian Hospital in Belfast and stayed there for three days. I passed many exams. Thank God I did.
“A physical therapist worked with me in the hospital to improve my balance and coordination.
“During hospitalization, a heart test revealed that I had a patent foramen ovale (PFO), a hole in my heart. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one having surgery to close the gap.”
Watworth, who has been appointed head of the Irish Football Association’s JD Academy to help prepare young players for the professional environment, said he has made an “amazing recovery”.
“A week later I was back on the golf course and I was a little dizzy when I bent over to pick up the ball.
“My way of coping with my stroke was to keep busy and try to get back to many normal activities.
“Six weeks later, I was back at the Football Association of Ireland as Head of Elite Player Development. They have been very supportive.”
About 2,800 stroke-related hospitalizations occur here each year, according to the Northern Ireland Heart Attack Society (NICHS).
Waterworth said he speaks to make people more aware of stroke.
“On International Men’s Day, I’m sharing my story to draw attention to the fact that a stroke can happen to anyone, regardless of age.
“Also, as I know, stroke symptoms don’t always come right away. Stroke symptoms were visual disturbances and balance problems.
“I’m calling you guys. If you’re feeling unwell, get tested right away. It’s very important to show up as soon as possible with a stroke.”
“I’m lucky to feel better. I hope my story helps people who have had a stroke understand that having a stroke doesn’t mean they stop doing what they love.
“Going through the stroke has put everything in perspective. I am now happy and really looking forward to spending time with my family, vacations and the work I love.”
NICHS Director of Care Services Ursula Ferguson said:
“Not only does stroke negatively impact physical health, it can also reduce independence, self-confidence and well-being. Stroke can also affect relationships, disrupt work and careers, and cause Families may be separated at home, but NICHS is here to provide expert care and support.
Problems with balance and coordination, difficulty swallowing, sudden loss of vision or blindness, or severe headaches are also signs of stroke.
“If you experience any of these symptoms, call 999 as soon as possible. Time is of the essence because the longer the affected area of the brain is without blood, the worse the outcome.” Because it is possible.”
Source: Belfast Telegraph