Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Speedskating Star Denny Morrison Returns Home after Suffering a Stroke

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Speedskating Star Denny Morrison Returns Home after Suffering a Stroke

Article excerpt

Denny Morrison returns home after stroke

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CALGARY - The stubbornness of his girlfriend and a horse show may have saved Denny Morrison's life.

The four-time Olympic medallist in speedskating flew home to Calgary from Salt Lake City on Tuesday three days after Morrison suffered a stroke in Utah.

Morrison wanted rest and time to consult with doctors before speaking to the media.

His girlfriend and Canadian teammate Josie Spence, who saw Morrison was ailing and insisted he go to hospital in Salt Lake, said they were both relieved to be home.

"He's sleeping lots, but the doctors and the whole speedskating team have been really helpful towards him," Spence told The Canadian Press. "They know that this stage for him is to get as much rest and recovery as he can and Denny knows that as well."

The couple were heading back to Canada after 25 days mountain biking the 1,200-kilometre Arizona Trail from the Mexico to Utah borders. They planned to stop in Salt Lake City to see the horse show Cavalia on Saturday.

Morrison awoke from a nap when they got out of the car. Spence noticed Morrison was slurring his speech and struggled to put his sunglasses on with his left hand.

Spence, a certified lifeguard trained in first aid, recognized this was more than post-nap grogginess.

"Denny had just wanted to get back to Canada," she said. "We were both really tired from doing that long trip. He was 'I just want to get back home.'"

Spence insisted he get medical treatment. His symptoms worsened upon arrival at hospital.

"They decided to transfer him over to another hospital and they would do a procedure on him there," she recalled. "By the time he was in the ambulance, his symptoms got a lot better, so they decided not to go forward with (surgery)."

Scans confirmed a brain blood clot and carotid artery dissection. Morrison didn't require surgery or blood thinners, but the 30-year-old from Fort St. John, B.C., spent three nights in hospital.

Spence, a 22-year-old from Kamloops, B.C., might not have known the seriousness of Morrison's condition if they had kept driving and not stopped in Salt Lake to see the horses.

"I'm so thankful we were able to get out of the car and see the weakness in his left side," she said. …

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