My ‘perfectly healthy' boy, 16, suffered terrifying near-fatal stroke – the 4 signs all young people must know | The Sun

A TEENAGER suffered a stroke which almost killed him after he lifted weights at the gym.

Ethan Bruce, just 16, was weight training in June this year when he suffered a stroke – seemly out of no where.

The school-boy, from Wath Upon Dearne, Rotherham, was rushed to the hyper acute stroke unit at Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

His dad Che told YorkshireLive he was shocked when his son was struck down by a stroke as he was a "perfectly healthy, sports-mad lad".

A stroke is a life-threatening brain attack, which occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off.

It can have different effects depending on where in the brain this damage occurs.

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For Ethan, his stroke left him with a communication disorder called aphasia which results in the inability to understand words and communicate clearly.

He was also left with information processing difficulties and short term memory loss.

Ethan, who had only finished his GCSEs days earlier, survived the incident but he now requires "serious amounts" of intensive language therapy as part of his recovery.

"The NHS only supports financial treatment for this at three-month periods and his difficulties don't go away," his dad explained.

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His dad has started a fundraising campaign to pay for the intensive rehabilitation his son needs as he faces months of speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy on the road to a full recovery.

"It could have been much worse, these kind of events are very rare. He could have easily ended up in a persistent vegetative state but fortunately, he has recovered really well," he explained.

"I am anxious to raise awareness and cash so hospital staff can help afford to help those such as my son. He needs speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy and it can cost hundreds of pounds an hour," he added.

Since the stroke, Ethan's dad has kept donors updated on his son's recovery via his GoFundMe page.

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Since the stroke, Ethan has returned to school which his dad said "hasn’t been easy" because of his "ongoing cognitive difficulties".

Ethan decided to drop one of his A levels in favour of a BTEC which his dad said would be "more attainable given his ongoing cognitive disabilities."

"Ethan is still keen to peruse a career in physiotherapy and really wants to attend university.

"I can’t image how difficult returning to education is for Ethan especially having information processing difficulties and constant fatigue."

Experts have now warned that younger people are upping their risk because of their lifestyle.

You're more at risk of a stroke if you're overweight, you smoke and you drink too much.

Other risks include age – with people over the age of 55 more likely to have a stroke.

What are the symptoms?

The FAST method – which stands for Face, Arms, Speech, Time – is the easiest way to remember the most common symptoms of stroke:

1. Face drooping – if one side of a person's face is dropped or numb then ask them to smile, if it's uneven then you should seek help.

2. Arm weakness – if one arm is weak or numb then you should ask the person to raise both arms. If one arm drifts downwards then you might need to get help

3. Speech difficulty – if a person's speech is slurred then this could be a sign of a stroke

4. Time to call 999 – if a person has the signs above then you need to call 999 in the UK or 911 in the US for emergency care.

Other symptoms include:

  • sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • difficulty finding words
  • sudden blurred vision or loss of sight
  • sudden confusion, dizziness or unsteadiness
  • a sudden and severe headache
  • difficulty understanding what others are saying
  • difficulty swallowing

If any of these symptoms occur for less than a few hours, you could be suffering from a transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

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This attack, which is sometimes known as a "mini-stroke", indicates that there is a problem with the blood supply to your brain.

It’s important to contact your GP or local hospital if experiencing these symptoms, as they could increase your risk of stroke in the near future.

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