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Randy Travis: What's Behind His Miraculous Recovery

Randy Travis: What's Behind His Miraculous Recovery
(Copyright AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 17 February 2016 03:06 PM

When country music legend Randy Travis suffered a massive stroke, there was little hope he would survive. But now, less than three years later, he is not only recovering, but is singing in public for the first time, which should symbolize hope for other stroke victims, a top neurologist says.

“Most stroke patients do get better and Randy Travis is a great example of this,” Dr. Michael Schneck tells Newsmax Health.

In 2013, Travis was suffering a respiratory infection that left him unable to breath. He also developed a serious heart infection, lapsed into unconsciousness, and his heart stopped beating, which was when doctors also discovered he had suffered a major stroke. Following brain surgery, doctors gave him “only a 1- to 2-percent chance” of survival, his then-fiancée, Mary Davis told Country Weekly magazine. (The couple has since wed).

The type of stroke Travis suffered has never been revealed, but from a description of the events, Dr. Schneck surmises that  a blood clot formed in the singer's heart, traveled to his brain, and resulted in the type of "devastating" stroke called a malignant middle cerebral infarction.

This is the type of stroke that can lead to fatal brain swelling so Travis underwent surgery to temporarily remove part of his skull. That Travis was able to recover from all this is in itself "very impressive," adds Dr. Schneck, a neurology professor  at the  Loyola University School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill..

“The problem with this is that by doing it we can save people’s lives after a stroke, but the result is that they are often left so disabled that they are confined to a wheelchair, have many language deficits and they are dependent on others,” he says.

This has not been the case with Travis, though. According to Davis, once he left the hospital, he began a program of intensive physical therapy, which she described in the article.

“We go to outpatient therapy five days a week here in Denton, 30-45 minutes from home,” she said. “Then we come home and do some more of it.”

“Randy Travis’ recovery exemplifies the discoveries we have made over the years in terms of the brain’s plasticity. A lot of therapy is designed to train the parts of the brain that is still intact to take over the function of the part that has been damaged,” says Dr. Schneck.

“Traditionally, we used to teach that people plateau after three to six months following a stroke, but most experts don’t support that anymore. Personally, I have seen patients whose recovery continues over time, so starting aggressive rehabilitation right after a stroke and continuing it on an outpatient basis makes a major difference,” he adds.

Of course, there were some differences between the platinum album-selling singer that many other stroke patients may not have, notes Dr. Schneck.

“Randy Travis is younger than many stroke patients, he has a lot of financial resources, and a very supportive wife,” notes Dr. Schneck.  But, he adds: “The bottom line is that most strokes get better. Not everyone will have a full recovery – you still have to take life as it comes – but the bottom line of Randy Travis' story is that you should never give up hope.”

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When country music legend Randy Travis suffered a massive stroke nearly three years ago, there was little hope he would even survive. But his appearance last week when he sang 'Amazing Grace,' reflects that his recovery is a miraculous story of hope.
Randy, Travis, Country, Music, Singer, stroke, rehabilitation, heart, disease
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2016-06-17
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 03:06 PM
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