Taverham man and ex-Australia rugby captain team up to raise awareness of a new stroke campaign

Mike Jolly, of Taverham, and former Australian rugby union captain Michael Lynagh talk about their e

Mike Jolly, of Taverham, and former Australian rugby union captain Michael Lynagh talk about their experiences of recovering from strokes. - Credit: Archant

A former Norwich rugby captain who suffered a stroke following an injury he suffered on the pitch has teamed up with an international sportsman to raise awareness of a charity campaign.

Mike Jolly, 46, of Taverham, met former Australian rugby skipper and fly-half Michael Lynagh to discuss their recovery from the strokes ahead of the Stroke Association's 'Give a Hand' week.

The campaign, which challenges people to complete an everyday activity using their weaker hand, runs from next Monday to November 1.

Mr Jolly, who skippered Norwich Rugby Club's second team – the Norwich Lions – was playing in a match in October 2013 when he unknowingly tore his vertebral artery.

While the tear healed, a clot developed in his brain and resulted in him having a stroke while driving home afterwards.

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After being helped by another driver, Mr Jolly, then 44, was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, where he was barely able to walk or talk during his first week of treatment.

'I was extremely frightened and couldn't quite believe that I could have a stroke because I led a fit and healthy lifestyle', Mr Jolly said.

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'I assumed that the condition only happened to older people, or those with bad health. I soon came to learn that I was very wrong.

'I'm really proud that I've got a wife and two teenage children who have been there for me.

'I do understand how lucky I am because there are so many people who don't have that kind of support.'

Mr Lynagh, who earned 72 caps for the Wallabies, suffered his stroke in 2012 and lost part of his sight as a result.

Mr Jolly, who is still recovering from the effects of his stroke, said: 'Meeting Michael was truly fantastic.

'It was so reassuring to speak to another stroke survivor who has gone through a similar experience as me, and can relate to the aftermath of a stroke.

Mr Lynagh said: 'Recovering from a stroke can be one of the hardest challenges life has to throw at you.

'It was great to meet Mike and find out about the incredible recovery he's made.'

To find out more about 'Give a Hand', please visit www.stroke.org.uk/giveahand to download or request a fundraising pack.

For more information about strokes call the helpline on 0303 3033 100.

Are you currently recovering from a stroke? Contact our health correspondent by emailing nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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