Ryan Beard, 30, was finishing a set at the gym when he suddenly became light-headed and dizzy. Before he knew it, he had a thunderclap headache and was being sick – no idea that he had just suffered a brain bleed
A 30-year-old man suffered a stroke during a workout at the gym and has revealed the terrifying moment he knew something was wrong.
Ryan Beard, from Walthamstow, northeast London, was nearing the end of his session when he suddenly felt dizzy and light-headed. Assuming he was about to faint he “gave it a minute but nothing changed”. On rushing home, he was hit with a severe headache, nausea and excessive sweating.
“A thunderclap headache came on, I started to be sick and I was sweating like I never had experienced,” he explained. His partner, seeing his condition deteriorate, had no idea that Ryan had just suffered a brain bleed, known as a cavernoma.
Before this incident, Ryan, who works in marketing for Cancer Research UK, was a healthy individual who regularly exercised. But when he lost his balance and ability to speak, his partner rushed him to A&E at Homerton Hospital. “They got me in straight away and did a CT scan,” he recalled. “Within half an hour of me seeing the first nurse I was told I had a bleed on the brain.”
Speaking to MyLondon, he said: “I don’t remember much of it as it was all just a blur. My girlfriend said the doctors were looking at the computer with a really worried expression. At the time she was thinking: ‘This doesn’t look good’.” He added: “Then they confirmed I’d had a haemorrhage stroke, which was a bit of a shock. The day after I couldn’t walk and was bed-bound for the next few days.”
Although strokes are mainly associated with the elderly, data shows that one in four of them happen in people of working age. According to the Stroke Association, over a third of survivors aged between 18-60 previously believed they didn’t happen to people their age, while 25 per cent feel their stroke has robbed them of their future.
Luckily for Ryan, his horrific experience on August 12 didn’t result in him being in the latter category. Less than three months after his stroke he’s on a phased return to work and has even resumed running and gym workouts. He says: “Initially when I was in hospital they were saying it would be quite a long road of recovery – around Christmas was when I’d be feeling more mobile. At this point, I thought, ‘this is going to take me out for the best part of a year’. All the things I had planned – gigs, holidays, all that kind of stuff. I said to myself, ‘great, I’m going to miss out on that’.”
“But it turns out a lot of those things went ahead because my recovery was so quick. I feel really lucky I’ve been able to get my life back to normal.” Ryan was referred to the Walthamstow Community Stroke Team who assigned a physiotherapist, occupational therapist and speech therapist. His rehab involved exercises including squats from the sofa, using a knife for cooking, and reading out loud tongue twisters.
Ryan said he never thought this could happen to him. He’s incredibly thankful for the support from the Stroke Association in their help with rehabilitation, and putting him in contact with other young stroke survivors. He added: “My stroke has reiterated that life is pretty fragile, short and can change in an instant. Life if there to be lived and there for you to enjoy stuff. I just want to go out and do as much as I can.”
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