Beatrice man joins Saltdogs to bring stroke awareness

Posted By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News

His voice was everything.

His talkative personality and his livelihood.

Bryan Cook, from Beatrice, has worked in radio for the last 30 years.

That all changed when he suffered a stroke on Feb. 2, 2017.

Friday night, the Saltdogs helped bring awareness to survivors like Cook with their Strike Out Stroke event.

"I was just getting out of the shower, I walked down the hallway and my legs gave out,” Cook said

Mary Ellen Hook, stroke program director at Bryan Health said when Cook got to Bryan Health, he couldn’t walk, move his right side, swallow or speak.

As he had the most severe form of stroke, a hemorrhagic stroke that causes bleeding in the brain, Hook said she didn’t think he’d make a strong recovery.

But he did.

Because he didn’t give up.

Hook says this is essential for stroke survivors.

"Those stroke patients need to have the attitude and the drive to just keep working toward recovery."

That’s what Friday’s Saltdogs game was all about, part of the ticket sales went to helping stroke survivors recover.

For Cook, tonight’s game and his message hit home base, as he got to throw out the first pitch.

But to get to the point where he was Friday, able to throw that baseball, it took a long time.

Cook spent three months at Bryan Health in therapy and continues it at home in Beatrice.

Hook said it’s the therapy that made all the difference in the army veteran’s recovery.

But that wasn’t the only impact on his life, he also made lifelong relationships with the recovery staff at Bryan Health.

"Great nurses, therapists, doctors are titles to me, these are angels to me. Angels that got me back to where I am at now,” Cook said.

They feel the same way.

"He just made therapy fun for me and I told him by the end, he reminded me of why I love to do what I do,” said Ricque Harth, speech language pathologist.

Now, Cook has made huge strides in recovery.

Most importantly, he has his voice back.

Walking back into his radio station, News Channel Nebraska, in Beatrice is an emotional experience.

"A breath of fresh air…when I go in I can’t stop smiling, my eyes well up with tears because, something again, I took advantage of before—maybe I didn’t appreciate enough."

His journey isn’t over yet- he has a few more goals to go.

Cook said he wants to be able to run again, to work out…

But most importantly he wants to share a message of prevention and awareness.

"Don’t forget doctor check–ups, because it could save your life. It really could,” Cook said.

Hook said stroke prevention starts with knowing your risk factors, like high blood pressure, being overweight or having an irregular heart beat.

Like Cook said, this call all be determined by getting regular examinations.

If you are experiencing stroke like symptoms, you need to get medical attention as soon as possible, it’s best to call 911.

Stroke symptoms follow the acronym F.A.S.T.

F stands for droopiness or tingling in the face; A is for weakness or numbness in your arms; S is for difficulty speaking or swallowing.

If you experience a sudden onset of one or more of these symptoms, it comes down to letter T- Time to call 911.