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“I’m only 42, this can’t be a stroke” Former footballer on life after stroke



Nick Clarke, former professional footballer, was left puzzled after he collapsed on his bathroom floor in 2012.

Nick could not believe medical professionals when they informed him that he had indeed had a stroke.

Here, Nick speaks to SR Times on life after stroke and his charity Stroke Information.

“This can’t be happening to me, I’m 42,” he tells us.

“After four weeks of being in hospital, my life changed completely.

“Even though it is a negative thing in ways, what I try and do is turn that negative into a positive.

“That’s why I’ve started the charity to help other people that have been impacted by stroke.”

SRT: “Tell us about stroke information, what kind of services do you offer and who do you look out for?”

NC: ”Whatever the person and their family are experiencing, we will try to help them.

“Effectively, what we do is use our experience, our life stories of what we’ve endured, to hopefully make someone else’s stroke journey a lot less painful than ours.

Nick highlights that after he had his stroke, he and his family received little support.

“There was no support or guidance, nothing to give motivation.”

He also mentions pamphlets that were handed to him whilst recovering in hospital.

“I couldn’t be bothered reading them, I just wanted to concentrate on getting better.

“When I did eventually look at it [the pamphlet], after I’d came home, and it was information on how to avoid a stroke.

“I was like, hang on a minute that horse has already bolted.

“I need help now with how I’m left [after the stroke.]”

Nick will help those with whatever those in need may need assistance with, no matter how big or small the issue.

“We get involved with all sorts, from benefit claims to helping with blue badge applications.

“We will also speak to the individual about what they’re actually missing, what they’re wanting to do and what their goals are.

“Just recently we’ve helped a 31-year-old, who was discharged after being in hospital for six months, having no support and nowhere to turn to.

“We welcomed him into our WhatsApp group, and his actual words were I couldn’t have done this without you.”

Nick tells us what the stroke patient said after he had received their support: “You’ve given me motivation and encouragement to get better.”

Nick also tells us the story of a patient they helped who had a miraculous recovery, after being told he had 24 hours to live.

“His wife contacted us, and we just embraced them, welcomed them to the group.

“Eventually, I said to his wife, all you’ve got to do is give perseverance and give him some motivation and encouragement.

“The best piece of encouragement I can give is never give up.

“After being told last August that he only had 24 hours to live, about three weeks ago he sent me a video of him walking with a Zimmer frame around his adapted home.”

“All of our services are free, we don’t want to charge.

“We just want to be able to help other people that have had strokes.”

“You highlighted the importance of supporting the families of the patients, what support do you offer them?”

When I had my stroke, my two girls were both teenagers, one of them was going through exams and I couldn’t help but think, what are they thinking? 

“I wonder what they will go through, I wonder whether they were scared that it was going to be hereditary.

“I remember a case where a stroke survivors son was watching him being hoisted in to bed, and he turned around to his mother and said, is it always going to be like this?

“With determination, the right help and support, no, your dad is not always going to be like this, he’s just going through a temporary glitch.

“The best analogy I use to help young ones about a stroke is that you’re effectively a computer and you’ve had a massive virus.

“It’s trying to take part of the mainstream computer away and you’ve got to fight back.