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First-time father uses birth of son as motivation to overcome stroke

<i>KETV via CNN Newsource</i><br/>For 43-year-old Brent Paprocki
KETV via CNN Newsource
For 43-year-old Brent Paprocki

By Andrew Ozaki

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    LINCOLN, Nebraska (KETV) — For 43-year-old Brent Paprocki, it didn’t get more fatherly than taking his son to his first baseball game.

But about a year ago, a moment like that was almost taken away.

“I was getting ready for work that morning and started not feeling well and I have tinnitus the ringing in my ears,” Paprocki said.

The Columbus electrician, who also farms, took those symptoms seriously and went to the Columbus hospital.

That night, he suffered a series of strokes.

“When I woke up a couple days later, I had blurry vision and couldn’t walk at that point in time, no sense of balance,” Paprocki said.

What made things worse, he and his wife, Colynn, were expecting the birth of their first child just a few months away.

“I wanted to be able to chase him and play with him and do all sorts of things, you know, as a father,” Paprocki said.

The specialists at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals Lincoln campus used that as motivation and tailored some therapy for just him.

“They helped me to learn how to put a car seat in a vehicle. Practicing getting in and out and carrying a car seat. Practicing like if I was chasing a small child that was running, and then they stop,” Paprocki said.

Their son Slade was born in November.

And Brent was ready.

“I mean, it’s beyond words. He’s become an awesome father. He’s very hands on and interactive, which is one of the goals that Madonna worked with him on,” Colynn said.

Last Friday, with Colynn and Slade watching, Brent threw out the first pitch at the Lincoln Salt Dogs game as part of Strike Out Stroke Night.

“It’s an amazing story of courage and determination. His therapy team truly enjoyed working with him,” said Amy Goldman, the stroke program manager at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals Lincoln Campus.

It also sends the message of how early detection, which occurred in Brent’s case, prayers and motivation can help save the day.

“Time is brain, and I cannot emphasize that enough, and you’re never wrong to call 911. We would rather you do that it’d be a false positive than for you to not call 911 and not get the help you need to save your brain,” Goldman said.

“Being able to throw out this pitch is my possible opportunity to be able to give back just a little bit to people that helped me out and you’re with me during that time,” Paprocki said.

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