27-Year-Old Lacrosse Coach Survives a Stroke

- Aaron Kapps loves coaching lacrosse.

"I had some great lacrosse coaches in my past and wanted to give back to the game just like they gave to me."

But last summer, something happened that took him away from his team.  For a month he had chest pains and was always exhausted, until one day things suddenly got worse.

“I was brushing my teeth, my right hand went completely numb,” he said.  “I didn’t think much of it just kind of weary from waking up so I went back to bed, my leg started convulsing and then just hit the deck.”

The next thing he knew, a neighbor was calling 9-1-1 upon finding him on the ground outside.  At Carolinas HealthCare System's Carolinas Medical Center, Doctor Joe Bernard, MD told him the last thing any 27-year-old may have expected: He had a stroke.

"I'm pretty busy, pretty active so I just thought I was being too strenuous on my body so to think I would have a stroke definitely never would've entered my mind."

Once considered to be common among the elderly, doctors are now diagnosing more and more people under the age of 55 with stroke.  In Kapps’ case, they’re not sure of the cause but say a blood clot in his brain and plaque on the heart may have contributed.

"No matter your sort of physical fitness level or age, it can hit you no matter what just like it hit me."

With a new lease on life, Kapps is just happy to be back, doing what he loves most, coaching, something he says is therapeutic.

"This has been the best thing for me for sure."

Signs of a stroke include face drooping, arm weakness, and difficulty speaking.  If you see anyone, regardless of their age, showing these, it’s time to call 9-1-1 immediately.

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