Jacob’s story: What it’s like to have a stroke as a kid

stroke recovery

My name is Jacob and I’m 8 years old. Two years ago, I had a stroke. At first, I didn’t realize what that meant, and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t move the way I used to.

With time, I’ve been able to get most of my function back, but my right arm has something called dystonia. That means the muscles cramp up and sometimes my arm moves on its own or gets stiff. I can’t control it, and that makes life hard sometimes.

treatment for stroke

I come to Boston Children’s Hospital every few months to see Dr. Michael Rivkin at the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center there. Nobody likes having to go to the doctor, but Dr. Rivkin is more like my friend. We kid around, and I like that he talks right to me, not just to my parents.

stroke dystonia

I have an older brother named Jayden. He and my dad are really into sports. After I had the stroke, I felt really frustrated that I couldn’t play with them anymore. Then I realized that just because I have dystonia doesn’t mean I can’t still do some of the things I love.

being active after stroke
I learned how to swing a baseball bat with one hand.

And I taught myself how to shoot hoops, too.

I can even swim with one arm! But sports aren’t my only hobby. When I was at home recovering from the stroke, I watched a lot of TV and read books. I found out that I really love science and animals — especially sharks.

after a stroke

My parents thought strokes were just a problem for older people, but we found out that they’re pretty common in kids, too. That’s why I want to tell other kids about my experience. You might have to learn how to do things in a new way or you might find other things you like to do for fun. But you can still have a great life after a stroke.

Learn about the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center.