Former Dub Siobhán McGrath, 35, said she felt exhausted on the day of the brain attack – but blamed her aches and pains on a club run-out the night before…
FOUR-TIME All-Ireland winning footballer Siobhán McGrath has revealed how she thought a stroke she suffered was little more than the after-effects of a tough training session.
Former Dublin star Siobhán McGrath, 35, said she felt exhausted on the day of the brain attack – but blamed her aches and pains on a club run-out the night before.
The half-back woke up feeling confused, with simple tasks such as putting on a t-shirt, opening a window and sending an e-mail more complicated than usual.
Recalling the horrific morning in June last year, Siobhán, who lifted the Brendan Martin Cup with Dublin in 2010, 2018, 2019, and 2020, said she knew something wasn’t right when her house alarm sounded and she struggled to switch it off.
“In my mind, I knew what the correct code was, but it was as if my body wouldn’t let me enter it into the keypad,” said the accountant.
“I remembered the F.A.S.T. TV adverts informing people about the signs of stroke. I looked in the mirror and my face wasn’t drooping on one side.
“I tried to tell myself, ‘you’re not having a stroke’, but the words didn’t come.
“I started to speak, but simple sentences sounded like double Dutch.
“It was at that moment that I decided to phone my mum – but it took a few attempts before she could understand what I was trying to say.”
An ‘Act F.A.S.T. – Minutes Matter’ campaign by the Irish Heart Foundation is highlighting stroke’s key warning signs – Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Slurred speech and the crucial importance of Time to get medical help if any of these signs are apparent.
Siobhán, an ambassador for the
charity, is now encouraging more people to familiarise themselves with the signs.
Irish Heart Foundation research reveals that the percentage of people who recognise the signs of one of Ireland’s biggest killers is declining, with just one in 10 knowing what all four letters stand for.
Stroke kills two million brain cells every minute, so the quicker patients get medical help, the more that can be saved.
Following an MRI and a series of tests, Siobhan’s stroke was confirmed and she spent a week in Tallaght
She has returned to work and is back playing for her club, Thomas Davis in Tallaght.
Aside from some problems with vocabulary, she feels she has made a full recovery.
“Thanks to the F.A.S.T. message, I knew I needed to get help,” she said.
“If you recognise any one of the signs, get medical help immediately.
“No one is invincible. I’m lucky that I had my family and boyfriend minding me.”
The HSE’s National Clinical Lead for Stroke, Professor Rónán Collins, said stroke is a leading cause of death and disability.
“Nothing is more likely to suddenly change your life completely, or end it, as a stroke – but it doesn’t always have to be the case,” he said. “We have made great strides in improved diagnosis, treatment and cure and in restoring people to fuller lives after stroke.
“But the faster we recognise and seek treatment, the greater the chance of a successful outcome. Know the common signs and symptoms of stroke and if you suspect stroke, act F.A.S.T. and call an ambulance immediately.”
Learn more about stroke at: https://irishheart.ie/campaigns/fast/
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