On March 14, Josh Hader was doing what thousands of people a year do — cracking their necks to relieve stress or tightness in the muscles. Unfortunately, when Hader cracked his neck, the left side of his body went numb, which left him understandably scared. Hader was rushed to the hospital where he was told he had suffered a major stroke.
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The 28-year-old Oklahoma native noticed on the way to the hospital he couldn’t walk straight. “I kept walking at almost a 45-degree [angle] to the left,” he said. Dr. Vance McCollom, who works at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City and treated Hader, told CNN how lucky Hader is to be alive.
“When he popped his neck, he tore arteries that go to the bone of the neck, where the neck joins the skull at the base of the brain,” he explained. “The way he twisted the neck caused a bisection.”
Ironically enough, Hader’s wife seemed to foresee this incident happening as she always told her husband: “Don’t pop your neck. You’re going to cause a stroke.” Numerous doctors have found a link in cracking or “manipulating” the neck causing an increased risk of stroke, ABC News reported.
Since recovering from his stroke, Hader wears an eye patch as he is still sensitive to light in his left eye. Hader also had to initially use a walker to get around as he was still very weak from the stroke. “Currently, I can walk without a walker or cane, but I get tired much faster than before. My balance is still a little off, but it’s not terrible,” he said.
Hader didn’t mind the eye patch or the walker, but what made life unreasonably difficult was his excessive hiccups. “Those were terrible. Literally two weeks of straight hiccups since the stroke happened. Towards the end, they would make it almost impossible for me to breathe for a few seconds, and that was scary.”
Hader has since decided that he will no longer crack his neck.