Stroke victim shares story of survival on first day of Stroke Awareness Month

CLEVELAND-- Oscar-nominated filmmaker John Singleton died at 51 after suffering a massive stroke on April 17. Actor Luke Perry, 52, also suffered from a massive stroke that let to his untimely death in March.

The two celebrities served as shocking and sad reminders that strokes can occur in anyone at any time.

"You don't really think that. I mean, you're a young person, you're an active person it doesn't seem like something that is, should happen to you."

Brian Snow, of Twinsburg, was on a family ski trip back in January when he fell while snowboarding.

"Didn't seem at the time very big or very major," Snow said.

Three days after his trip, Snow said he noticed a change in the size of his pupils, then slurred speech and numbness on the left side of his body. He was suffering from a stroke at the age of 46.

"So he did fall quite a few times and what we think probably happened is that he injured arteries in the neck called the carotid arteries,” said Cleveland Clinic stroke neurologist Dr. Blake Buletko.

He said Snow suffered a ischemic stroke. That's when either a blood clot or plaque obstructs a vessel carrying blood to the brain, preventing the delivery of oxygen.

There’s another type of stroke, most prevalent in the African-American community.

"Stroke in general is higher in the African-American population. Some risk factors are most prevalent in the African-American population than other populations, such as high blood pressure. High blood pressure also leads to what we call hemorrhagic strokes."

That’s when the blood vessels burst, often leading to sudden death.

Signs of stroke include feeling off balance, loss of vision, drooping face, slurred speech and severe headache.

Snow underwent surgery to have stents placed in his carotid arteries and is now on the road to a full recovery.

"I just got released yesterday to get back and play some golf so I'm pretty happy about that."

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