Bret's first public statement after suffering stroke on 6/24/02

This is the hardest column I’ve ever written.

I’m doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

I made the stupid mistake of riding my bike without a helmet. My chin strap broke and I’d put off getting it fixed.

Bike riding has long been one of my passions, especially here in Calgary on the bike paths along the Bow river.

I hit a pot hole in the grass and crash landed on my head. As best as can be determined I suffered a stroke on impact.

Unable to move the left side of my body I used my cell phone to call for help. I thought I wasn’t hurt too badly but boy was I wrong.

I very much want to thank the anonymous roller blader who rushed off to show the ambulance where to find me. His effort will never be forgotten.

Since having my stroke I’ve more than ever come to appreciate my fans around the world who came through by e-mailing me thousands of best wishes that buoyed my spirit at this difficult and challenging time. I’m touched that they wrote from as far away as Russia, even Pakistan and I would like to deeply thank everyone who has kept me in their prayers.

If I ever doubted that there are real angels in the world I never will again after the loving care I’ve received from the nursing staff at Foothills hospital. The doctors have been outstanding too.

As for me, I’m dealing with all this by reminding myself that I’ve been far too blessed in this lifetime to feel sorry for myself.

My wife and kids have been great and strong, as have my close friends, all tirelessly standing by me since this horrible accident happened.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been regarded as a hero by children around the world and it is from them that I now find the inner strength to fight by far my biggest battle ever. I remind myself of the incredible courage shown to me by the Make A Wish kids that I’ve been privileged to meet and it is their light that shines to show me the way to recovery. I hope I can be as brave as them.

Fans have written telling me to summon up the courage to be the Champion that they remember. I promise you all that I will.

I SHALL RETURN !

Blackbird singing in the dead of night ...
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arrive.
-The Beatles