CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Strokes claim the lives of nearly 130-thousand people every year, and it can happen to anyone at any age.
Jason McClellan, 22, is a basketball player for UIC. You would think that all he's dealing with are his opponents and school.
"I never thought this would ever happen to me,” McClellan said.
McClellan suffered two strokes in three months. The first happened while he was home in Colorado. The second happened in his townhome where he lives with his best friends.
"Right away I knew, I screamed for my other roommate to come out and help because I understood what was happening,” said Rimantas Grabliauskas.
That saved his life.
Doctor Ali Alaraj, a neurosurgeon at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago, operated on McClellan. Although he says it's hard to predict a person's risk of a stroke, there are people who have higher chances.
“More and more now we're seeing younger patients affected with stroke. The risk factors for stroke include diabetes, hyper-tension and smoking are more prevalent in the younger age group. So you tend to see more of those patients now at an earlier stage,” Dr. Alaraj.
Symptoms of a stroke include face drooping, numbness in the arm or leg and slurred speech.
McClellan is doing much better seven months after his second stroke, but he still deals with the effects from it.
"My speech has changed a little bit, it's kind of hard to articulate when I talk to somebody now. But, I'm getting a lot better every day,” McClellan said.
He hopes his story will bring awareness that a stroke can happen at any age, and thankfully his roommates were prepared.
“I couldn't thank them more,” he said. “They saved my life."