CLEVELAND, OHIO — 16-year-old Robbie Boyce is thankful every time he steps up to the plate. You’d never guess he suffered a major stroke less than a year ago.
“I’m so excited to be able to be on the field, help out my team,” he said.
Strokes most often happen in adulthood but they can strike at any age. In Robbie’s case, he was lifting weights with his trainer and suddenly collapsed.
“Essentially, what happened was he was working out and he had an artery in his head give out,” said Joe Boyce, Robbie’s father.
“People that have this rare type of stroke, called subarachnoid hemorrhage, typically have an aneurysm that ruptures at the base of the brain,” said Mark Bain, MD, Robbie’s neurosurgeon at Cleveland Clinic.
Robbie was life-flighted to Cleveland Clinic’s main campus and taken into surgery.
“We were able to cure the aneurysm, so he had no further bleeding in the brain,” said Dr. Bain. ”We actually had to sacrifice the artery by putting these small little coils in the artery to block the blood flow.”
“I truly did not really understand how severe it was or how scary it was until Dr. Bain had said, ‘you know, he’s the sickest patient we have in the ICU,’” said Joe Boyce.
When Robbie woke up, his right side was paralyzed. As his brain healed, movement slowly returned.
“His right toe finally moved in the 19th day,” Joe Boyce recalled. “You do a lot of thinking as a parent. You’re like, you know, what about quality of life?”
After one month in the intensive care unit and two months in rehab, Robbie is back at school. He’s playing piano again and made the junior varsity baseball team.
His friends and family are cheering him on and even Josh Naylor, a Cleveland Indians outfielder, recently surprised Robbie with a live video chat to encourage him as he recovers.
“I’m just so proud of you,” Naylor said during the video conference. “Just keep pushing forward bro, you got this.”
“There’s a lot of people out there rooting for you. You just have to believe in yourself and keep working as hard as you possibly can,” said Robbie.
“If people ever asked if miracles exist, Robbie Boyce is a miracle and he must have a guardian angel following him because it’s unbelievable where he’s at today,” said Joe Boyce.
Robbie is still working through some short term memory problems as a result of his stroke. He’ll be followed carefully to ensure he doesn’t encounter any issues in the future, but doctors don’t anticipate he’ll have any lingering disability.