Former Olympic Champion Michael Johnson has spoken out about how he managed to recover from a stroke using the winning psychology he learnt during his running years.
Johnson, 51, said that despite taking 15 minutes to walk 200 meters during his first physical therapy session, he was determined to recover quicker than anyone had before.
During the interview Johnson, who previously held the record for fastest man in the world at 200m and 400m, recalled his rapid deterioration after the first sensations of his mini-stroke.
He told BBC Breakfast: ‘Probably about two and a half to three hours after I had initially felt the first sensation I was no longer able to walk, I was no longer able to stand. My left side was very numb, without much feeling.’
The father-of-one added that he had little control over his fingers and when he spoke to medics they informed him he had suffered a mini-stroke following a training session.
Johnson, who currently lives in Marin County, California, with his second wife Armine, said: ‘Initially, there was obviously fear and a kind of, okay so what’s my life going to be like from this point on? What sort of mobility am I going to have, or lack of mobility?’
He worried whether his family were going to have to take care of him and if he was going to be able to complete every day tasks such as dressing himself.
The former sprinter said that during this time all sorts of things run through your mind and it is a ‘very scary’ period.
Shortly after the stroke doctors told Johnson that the best hope of recovery was to quickly begin physical therapy.
Two days later the process started, he said: ‘Ironically that first walk was about 200 meters which is the event I held the world record at and was once the fastest man in the world and in history at that event.’
He said that he believes that typically anyone in that situation would have been disappointed, but he only felt encouraged.
Johnson, born in Dallas, Texas, continued: ‘It’s what encouraged me because with every step could experience and feel some very tiny, I mean very small, incremental improvements.’
‘As a sprinter, where you know, wins and losses can be measured in hundreds and thousands of seconds, and you’re dealing with, you know, tiny tiny incremental improvements every day I could recognize that.’
‘I got back to my room and said to my wife, I’m going to make a full recovery, I’m sure of it and I’m going to make this recovery faster than anyone has ever done in before.’
‘It’s been the most significant event in my life and It’s been one of those experiences though as well, the way I’ve taken it is sort of the what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
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Source: Daily Mail