Last Saturday, two-time stroke survivor and Newport Beach resident Michelle Wulfestieg, 32, threw out the first pitch at Angel’s Stadium as part of the “Strike Out Stroke Day,” a partnership between the Angels and Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian intended to raise awareness about the signs of stroke and the urgency of treatment.
Wulfestieg is Executive Director of Southern California Hospice Foundation, and recently co-founded a motivational speaking tour and community education initiative called Live Life After Stroke (LLAS), which is an affiliate of the Hospice Foundation.
During the Angels vs. Astros game, leaders from Hoag, St. Joseph Health, Angels Baseball, Genetech and the Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp were on hand to
educate the public about the symptoms of stroke and the urgency of treatment.
The Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp developed Strike Out Stroke Day as a way to partner with Major and Minor league baseball to promote stroke awareness
and recovery. By bringing stroke education to a wide and engaged audience, Strike Out Stroke is able to reach a large and diverse audience about the warning signs of stroke, known by the acronym FAST.
“FAST stands for face, arm, speech and time. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, ask them to smile; if one side of their face droops, that’s a sign of stroke. Similarly, if they try to lift both arms, but one drifts downwards, that’s another sign. Slurred speech can also be a symptom. If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately. Time is essential to limiting or reversing the impact of stroke,” said David Brown, M.D., Program Director of Hoag Stroke Program.
Major League Baseball has seen its share of strokes. In 1980, for instance, Houston Astros player J.R. Richard suffered a stroke and collapsed while playing a game of catch before a game. He was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to remove a life-threatening blood clot in his neck and survived, but his Major League career ended.
Visit hoag.org for more information.