Teen stroke survivor walks again after yearlong recovery

Nazhai Tedder stood outside of University of North Carolina Hospital concentrating to open and close her fist.

"It is a little shaky, so I am learning how to maintain it," said the 17-year-old.

That might not seem like a hard task or accomplishment for most people. But for this teen, it has taken hours of dedication and work.

Her fist was clinched for months after suffering a stroke.

Stroke: How to spot the warning signs, symptoms

"When you have a stroke, the first natural reaction for your hand is to ball up," Tedder said. "My hand stayed like that."

She is now receiving therapy once a week in Chapel Hill -- getting back hand movement and a bit of her stride.

"I can actually walk my normal pace," said Tedder.

She was at a pool last year hanging out when her right side went numb. Tedder suffered two brain aneurysms.

Once in a wheelchair, she was told she'd never walk again.

There's video of her in rehab learning to rise above the situation and take life step-by-step.

Dressing herself and showering alone are lessons this high school senior is dealing with outside of the classroom.

She has just returned to East Chapel Hill High School.

"Although I can't write yet, I am still learning and going to occupational therapy, but I'm getting through it as best I can," she said.

A teen in Lee County, North Carolina, is dealing with the same struggle. Earlier this week, ABC7's sister station ABC11 reported on Jaylin Sumpter. The student-athlete suffered a stroke with playing a video game and is at UNC recovering.

Tedder saw the story and reached out saying she wants to raise awareness.

"I would have never thought this would have happened. I was a dancer, so I couldn't have imagined the worst," she said.

The American Stroke Association finds that someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds on average, and 1 of 10 children who suffers a stroke had a recurrence within 5 years.

ASA says medical conditions associated with stroke include:

  • Sickle cell disease

  • Moyamoya Syndrome

  • Arterial dissection

  • Autoimmune disorders

  • Congenital heart disease

  • Blood clotting disorders

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia finds that stroke is the sixth leading cause of death in children

Tedder hopes to serve as an inspiration to other teens doing through recovery.

"There's been times I was down, but with a support team I have stayed humble and worked hard and tried my best," she said.
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