A sudden stroke: ‘I tried to get out of the chair but just fell over’

Q102 DJ Gerry Stevens suffered a brain haemorrhage while watching TV in 2017

A national radio DJ who had to leave the airways because of a stroke two years ago is to launch a podcast series warning that the condition can hit at any age.

After 30 years as a broadcaster, Gerry Stevens (52), a DJ on Q102, had to hang up his microphone temporarily when he suffered a brain haemorrhage while watching TV in November, 2017.

“I didn’t have an event but I just didn’t feel very well. I was nauseous, hot and my tongue all of a sudden felt very large,” he said.

“Ann noticed that the left hand side of my face had dropped. I used to make a living out of being able to speak but all of a sudden, I couldn’t control my voice and my tongue just wouldn’t work for me.


“I started getting pins and needles in my arms and within 10 minutes, I definitely knew that I was in trouble as my left hand, arm and leg stopped working.

“I tried to get out of the chair but just fell over.”

During the four months he spent in hospital, Stevens, from Duleek, Co Meath, said he was surprised to meet people of all ages who had suffered a stroke.

“When I was growing up, a stroke was something that happened to your granny and was a sign of old age but that’s no longer the case. It’s now a common occurrence even in the under 40s.”

He highlighted lifestyle as a contributory factor.

“I was leading a busy life, touring around and managing bands, but I didn’t think I was stressed. I didn’t get any warning signs. Unlike 85 per cent of most stoke victims, I didn’t have a clot, I had a brain haemorrhage and had undiagnosed hypertension with a reading of over 200.”

Stevens described the experience as the scariest time of his life.

“All of a sudden, I couldn’t talk or drive and had lost all power on my left hand side. When I spoke, I sounded angry or drunk or both.”

Two years on he still has spasms in his foot and has trouble moving his left hand but he is back driving and has just bought an adapted motorcycle.

He also decided to record a series of podcasts with stroke victims and medics in an effort to raise awareness of the condition.

“The main thing is to remember the acronym Fast to recognise a stroke – facial dropping, arm weakness, speech difficulties and time – and call emergency services. Time is brain and you lose 100,000 brain cells a minute so it really is of the essence.”

The podcasts will be launched later this month.