Bret Hart's Stroke Survivor Story
In 2007, March of Dimes Canada was thrilled to welcome legendary Canadian wrestler Bret Hart as spokesperson of its Stroke Recovery Canada™ program.
Known to many Canadians as Bret “The Hitman” Hart, the champion wrestler was born in Calgary, Alberta into a wrestling dynasty led by his father, Stu Hart.
He won numerous championships in his over 20-year wrestling career but his greatest victory has been his triumph over a devastating stroke in 2002. The stroke caused partial paralysis requiring months of physical therapy, but Bret has made a successful recovery.
Bret has since starred in a touring production of Aladdin, and has continued his support of athletics in Calgary. In the past year, he has appeared at fundraising events on behalf of March of Dimes and filmed a series of public service announcements.
Bret recently published his bestselling autobiography, Hitman: My Real Life In The Cartoon World Of Wrestling, which is available in bookstores and on-line throughout the country.
Currently promoting his book throughout Canada and soon to start a U.S. tour, Bret took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about his personal journey through stroke recovery.
Q: You had your stroke in June 2002. Can you tell us about your stroke, and what some of the effects were?
The effects went from total loss of my left side to a gradual recovery of close to 80-90%.
Q: Where would you say you are in your recovery today?
I’d say I’m on the other side of it now. I think that you slowly recover a little bit all the time. I get a little stronger and better all the time. Even after I think I can’t recover anymore, I will see small marginal improvements and it just continues all the time.
Q: What were some of the more important things that helped in your recovery?
I had some really incredibly dedicated physiotherapists at the Foothills Hospital. A young lady named Brenda Young was just incredible. She helped me throughout my recovery –from learning to walk again to building my core muscles which were only half working at the time.
Also, thanks to the staff who helped with my speech, fingers, using my hands again, thanks to the nurses. Great people who took care of me were the keys to my recovery.
Q: What was the impact of your stroke on your family and caregivers?
I think it humbled everybody. Made them realize how life can change so quickly. You can learn a lot from it. Keep the faith, work hard, give everything you have and you can recover.
Q: What would you like to say to other Canadian stroke survivors to help them in their recovery?
I can only quote the same words Walter Gretzky said to me
“Don’t despair and do not give up. It gets better.”
Go to the stroke recovery success stories index.