At six-foot-six and 301 powerful pounds, Carolina Panthers defensive end Henry Anderson seemed otherwise entirely healthy. But in October, the 31-year-old player suddenly suffered a stroke that threatened to end his playing career.
Anderson says that he was at home on Oct. 22 when he began feeling his legs going numb and found his speech slurred.
“It was a stroke, so it’s basically like a blood clot in your brain,” Anderson explained, ESPN reported.
The player was rushed to the hospital where he underwent a battery of tests. Doctors found the blood clot in his brain and sent him to surgery to have it removed.
Since the surgery, Anderson now says he feels he is back to tip-top shape.
“I got pretty lucky avoiding anything serious,” he told Fox News.
“I mean, I feel totally fine. Like I said, it’s not like an injury like a knee or shoulder or something that you’ve got to rehab and get the strength back and everything. This was just something that like, I felt pretty much back to normal as soon as they got the thing out,” the player added.
“I’m a football player,” he said, according to ESPN. “I’m cleared to play, I want to be out there and play football because that’s what I love to do. I’ve been injured several times throughout my career, and it’s always kind of overwhelming when you’re injured and not with the team, so if the doctors say I’m good to go, and I’ve got clearance I want to be out there with my guys and playing with my brothers.”
Still, doctors were unable to determine how or why he ended up with a blood clot that nearly made him an invalid.
“Every test we ran came back negative,” Anderson added. “It was just something where I just kind of got unlucky, honestly.”
Fellow team mate and defensive end Brian Burns said he was shocked to learn of Anderson’s medical scare because the player “was so young and he’s an athlete,” the AP reported.
“He is like in top-tier shape. I feel like most of the times when I hear about strokes it is older people or obese people or maybe because of a heat stroke, or something like that,” Burns insisted.
Anderson has now been taken off the disabled list and is waiting to see if he is cleared to play.
It has not been reported if Anderson had taken the coronavirus vaccination, but at the outset of the pandemic he was with the New York Jets, so it is likely that he was because New York had a rule that athletes could not play unless they were fully vaccinated.
For the 2021 season, Anderson played with the New England Patriots. This is his first year with the Panthers.