New England fans received a bit of a shock this holiday weekend when it was announced Friday that Patriots' legend Tedy Bruschi suffered a stroke on the Fourth of July.
A statement from the Bruschi family confirmed that the former linebacker and current ESPN analyst had suffered a type of stroke known as a Transient Ischemic Attack, or a TIA. He recognized the signs immediately, and was taken to a Massachusetts hospital where he is "recovering well." Thankfully, TIA's are usually shorter in duration and do not frequently cause permanent damage.
This is the second stroke that Bruschi has suffered. In 2005, shortly after winning his third Super Bowl and playing in the Pro Bowl, Tedy suffered a serious stroke. A congenital heart defect had left a small hole in his heart, allowing a blood clot to get through his bloodstream and into his brain. He spent months undergoing rehabilitation, even announcing that he would sit out the 2005 season.
However, Bruschi's recovery went quicker than he expected, and he was medically cleared to return to the team in the middle of October. He would start the next game against the Buffalo Bills, as well as each of the team's remaining nine games. He finished the regular season with two sacks and 62 tackles, earning the 2005 Comeback Player of the Year Award alongside Panthers' receiver Steve Smith.
Bruschi would eventually found "Tedy's Team", a foundation devoted to raising money for stroke awareness. They have raised money through a number of running events, including the Boston Marathon, which Bruschi has run twice.
Bruschi was a legend in New England due to his contributions to the Patriots first dynasty run. He anchored the middle of the Patriots defense, particularly in 2003 and 2004 when the team had a historically proficient defense. He was named a Second Team All-Pro in those two seasons as well. Bruschi was beloved on the field for his passion, and off the field for his genuine personality and commitment to community service.
After retiring from the NFL, Bruschi was hired by ESPN as an NFL analyst. He has been one of the most beloved personalities on their crew ever since, offering measured, objective insight.
There has been an outpouring of support for Bruschi from across the sports world, from fans, former teammates, colleagues at ESPN, and the Kraft family and Patriots organization. It's clear that Bruschi has all the support behind him that he could possibly need. We here at Pro Football Talk Line would also like to wish him well and hope for a speedy recovery. Go Tedy!