15 years ago today, former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi made his emotional return to football just eight months after suffering a stroke.
Back in February 2005, and just days after his first ever Pro-Bowl appearance, Bruschi suffered a mild stroke and underwent surgery for a hole in his heart. At the time, his NFL future largely in doubt.
Fast forward to October 30th of that year, Bruschi would in fact return to football after months of successful rehabilitation.
Take a look back on the anniversary of Bruschi’s first game back courtesy of the Patriots social media team below.
Bruschi logged two tackles and assisted on five more as the Patriots came from behind to beat the Bills 21-16, with 14 points coming in the fourth quarter.
For his efforts, Bruschi was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
“I’d been training for this for a long time,” Bruschi said postgame. “It felt like the first game back, but I still feel I can get better.”
On his Instagram Friday, Bruschi also reflected back on the memories.
“15 years ago today I made my comeback to the NFL after suffering a stroke. Comebacks are possible.”
Bruschi wound up playing in all but one game the remainder of the 2005 season. He was later named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year, an honor he shared with Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers. He would go on to play three more seasons before retiring in 2009.
Since his first stroke, Bruschi established Tedy’s Team, an organization meant to aid stroke victims and raise awareness of the importance of recognizing its warning signs.
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