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Local man strikes out stroke

WILLIAMSON COUNTY (WSIL) — A local man is back to walking, talking and even throwing a baseball after a massive stroke more than a year ago. 

Rich Davis is a husband, father and grandpa but back in November of 2017, the family man was fighting a brain attack. 

"For whatever reason, when I was leaving my office in Carbondale, I made a decision, I don’t know why, but I knew I needed to get to the hospital," Davis said. 

Davis said he remembers it was a strange feeling. 

"I was going over curbs and hitting gutters and things, damaging the underside of my tucks, but again, not really know it because I was stroking," Davis said. 

Once he was at the hospital, the neurology team decided he needed to be airlifted to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. 

"I lost the ability to write, I lost the ability to type, to walk," Davis said. "I lost all the feeling in my left side. 

After a week in St. Louis, Davis returned to Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) in Herrin. 

Doctor Terrence Glennon is a rehabilitation physician for SIH. He remembers meeting Davis when he returned to southern Illinois. 

"He had a very positive, upbeat attitude the whole entire way, even though he was fighting those deficits," Glennon said. 

Dr. Glennon said the hardest thing for a stroke survivor to understand is figuring out the "new you."

"The new self has to work on things, but it can seem so frustrating to know you could have done this before," Glennon said. 

"I had to learn how to walk, heal-to-toe, heal-to-toe to make my steps," Davis said. 

After months of rehab, doing his homework and exercises, Davis was ready for his big night at Rent One Park in Marion. 

"I asked my two granddaughters to help me and I made them stand out in the yard and I started throwing it (the baseball) and then I would back up a little more and throw it again and have them back up a little more," Davis said. 

On Friday, May 31, Davis’ 39th wedding anniversary, he threw out the first pitch on ‘Strike out Stroke’ night at the ballpark. 

Proving the stroke couldn’t strike out his life. 

Experts say the best way to know if someone is suffering from a stroke is to use the acronym FAST. 

F – for facial expressions

A – for numbness in your arm 

S – for slurring speech 

T- for time, reminding you to immediately call 911

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