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EXCLUSIVE: Terry Foster Reveals What Drove Him To Hospitalization, And What Others Can Learn From It

DETROIT (WWJ) In an exclusive interview with WWJ 950's Roberta Jasina, legendary sports reporter and 97.1 The Ticket personality Terry Foster described the mild stroke that has kept him off the air in recent weeks.

Did fiery on-air partner Mike Valenti cause it?

"Yeah, I've heard that a few times," Foster said, laughing. "Mike Valenti has nothing to do with this stroke. It was high blood pressure."

Foster is the comedic half of the on-air duo, the side that brings lightness to the sports show and adds on-air silliness with catch phrases like "hard and black," "Mr. Bojangles" and "hyper bowl." Highly engaged listeners and video stream viewers could have noticed a few weeks ago that Foster seemed to be having difficulty with some words. He says now that he was in denial.

"I was struggling with my speech and my fine motor skills in my right hand were off," Foster said. "I was typing slower, I had slower reaction times and I thought it was the effect of a bad cold that I had, but obviously it wasn't and I was on the air for a couple of days and I was struggling with my speech. At some point, I was kind of getting scared and said 'I need to go in and see what's going on' and that's what that was."

What was the last straw?

"It was slurred, I couldn't say '971 The Ticket,' I was like saying 'nine-one the Ticket, like that. There were certain words that I could not say or they were child-like when I said that," Foster said. "And so, I think, to compensate I started talking louder and slower and that was the big symptom right there."

Now, he has a message for his listeners, the men, especially. Don't skip doctor's visits.

And no matter how strong you feel, no one is invincible.

Foster said he hadn't been to the doctor and didn't know he had high blood pressure, which was 220 over something he can't remember when he showed up at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield suspecting something was wrong. Like most, he was eating inconsistently, high-fat foods sometimes and healthy meals other times.

"The main thing is that I did not go to the doctor," he said, adding he was scared and nervous when he finally turned himself over to a doctor's care. He was in the hospital for five days while professionals battled to get his blood pressure down.

It scared him straight, Foster said.

"In hindsight I should have gone in on Monday and had this taken care of, but I thought I could gut through it like us men kind of do and that wasn't the case," he said.

He's already 80 percent recovered, Foster said, adding his voice cracks if he talks too much, his fine motor skills are just a little bit off, and he's working on getting his best gait back. But he has no doubt he'll conquer any lingering symptoms.

"Fear has been replaced by fight," Foster said.

The fight involves regular doctor's visits, looking forward, staying positive, and following a healthy diet, Foster said. He plans to return Oct. 3 after speech and occupational therapy.

"I'm going to be 100 percent ... I'm ready to go," Foster said.


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