Retired rower, Pete Reed has announced he is living with paralysis in his lower body after experiencing a spinal stroke.
The three-time Olympic gold medal winner, who won consecutive medals in Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016 shared his journey during World Stroke Awareness Day (30 October) – Reed experienced a stroke at some point in September 2019.
Known and respected as one of the most successful rowers to ever be a part of Team GB, Reed retired from the sport in April 2018 whilst training for Tokyo 2020.
During an Instagram post, Reed shared: “Spinal strokes are very rare. They essentially starve the spinal cord of oxygen which can kill off the cells that transmit the signals sent between the brain and (in my case) the lower body.
“Doctors can’t be certain what caused my stroke. It was in the middle of my spine so I’m currently paralysed beneath my chest.”
In the UK, there are approximately 100,000 strokes a year – that’s one every five minutes – with 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK.
A stroke is a brain attack, which usually occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brain cells. This damage to the brain can impact on how the body works, and how you think and feel.
Reed continued: “Prognosis: there is no crystal ball. There is a very small chance I will make no recovery and a very small chance I will make a full recovery.
“Much more likely it will be somewhere in between. To what extent depends on the extent of the damage (which we can’t see) and how well I rehab.”
As Reed continues to recover, he shared that his arms are still strong and his brain “is still as average as it ever was.”
Ending the post, Reed shared that he would attempt to continue posting about his journey to note the highs, lows, challenges and triumphs.