Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. While most of those victims are adults, an Arkansas family is working to spread awareness that stroke does not discriminate based on age.
On May 26, 16-year-old Dra Bishop suffered a stroke. The Bentonville High School basketball player played in two games earlier in the day.
“In my game, I thought that my right hand felt weird and I missed a layup or two,” Bishop said.
While that seemed unusual, it wasn’t until later that evening that Bishop and his mom, Angela Copeland, realized something was terribly wrong.
“At that point, his face was droopy. He couldn't talk,” Copeland said.
Copeland rushed her son to a nearby hospital, and he was flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. An MRI there confirmed he was having a stroke.
“He was the youngest patient that I have treated thus far,” said Dr. Martin Radvany, chief of the University of Arkansas for Medical Scienes Interventional Neuroradiology Clinic.
Radvany successfully removed the blood clot in Bishop’s brain that caused the stroke.
“As far as treating strokes in children, I believe in the last couple of years it's really maybe one a year that we have seen here,” Radvany said. “Whereas, on the adult side we sometimes see four to five a week.”
About three months after the stroke, Bishop returned to Bentonville High School for his junior year. He has regained strength in his leg and is working on fine motor skills – with one goal in mind.
“Hopefully, I can play basketball again,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bishop and his family are working to spread awareness that no one – not even a seemingly healthy teenager – is immune from a stroke.
“It can happen to anyone,” Copeland said. “It doesn't matter your age. It doesn't matter if you're healthy or not. It could happen.”
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signs of stroke are:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
According to the CDC, you should call 9-1-1 right away if you or someone else has any of these symptoms.