Chris Stewart on His Recovery, Faith, and Stories of Support
It seemed like another week of covering the Crimson Tide as the play-by-play broadcaster for Alabama baseball when Chris Stewart's life changed. The 47-year-old had just returned from a trip to College Station and was preparing for the start of another week when he suffered a stroke in the middle of the night.
"We went to a family's birthday party on Sunday night, felt fine," Stewart told the Steve Shannon Morning Show on Friday. "Went to bed, the last I remember somewhere around midnight, fell asleep. The next thing I know is after 2 o'clock on Monday and I'm in Brookwood Hospital.
"What had transpired is I had a stroke. My wife found me basically unresponsive in the bed about 4:30, 5:00 o'clock in the morning. Wasn't responding. I was taken initially to St. Vincent's. They could not find anything initially that was wrong other than that I wasn't responsive."
After a couple of CAT scans, they located a blockage in an artery to his brain and immediately sent him to Brookwood Hospital. That's where the doctors took him directly into surgery for a procedure that wasn't guaranteed to work. They didn't even have time to discuss the plan with Stewart's wife, Christy, because time was of the essence.
Thankfully, the surgery went well and he was discharged from the hospital a few days later. Despite more than seven hours passing from stroke to surgery, the resulting effects have been minimal as he continues the recovery process.
"Other than having a little droop in my left eye right now and with that there's some blurred and double-vision, actually I go to my first therapy session today and it's supposed to rectify all of that, there's no other indication really that I've had a stroke.
"The patch gives it away. That's either it or I'm trying out to be the high school at Hoover High School."
After he was out of the hospital, Stewart got a visit from Alabama basketball SID Aaron Jordan and his family. During their conversation, Jordan reached down and pulled out something he brought for Stewart.
"He said, 'I was supposed to deliver something else,' and he hands me a box and I open it. It's Nike shoes. And it was a pair of Nikes that Collin, totally unsolicited, Collin Sexton had gone into his office on Wednesday or Thursday of that week and said, 'Hey I heard about Chris. I just want him to have these.' It was really, really special."
Stewart, who grew up following the Crimson Tide, said he always feels blessed that he's able to cover Alabama as a career, but when he steps on the field in Orlando as the sideline reporter for the defending champion's season opener against Louisville, it's going to mean even more.
"It's always special when I get a chance to be there but I have zero doubt it will be even more special to be there in Orlando, and I'm looking forward to that."
You can hear the entire conversation in video below, which also includes a great story about Nick Saban trying to get in touch with him at the hospital.