Exclusive interview: Mike Ditka speaks about stroke scare - KMSP-TV

First on Fox: Mike Ditka speaks about stroke scare

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka was released from a north suburban hospital Sunday, after suffering a minor stroke on Friday.

He spoke with Fox 32 News about life and mortality Monday in his first sit-down interview since the health scare.

"You can tell I feel good. Yeah, I had a problem. I guess it could happen to anybody. It wasn't because I thought I was in bad health or anything. I've been pretty healthy," Ditka says.

The 73-year-old was at a country club playing cards on Friday when he says his hands weren't working quite right and then he had trouble speaking. Ditka was taken to the hospital where doctors told him he suffered a minor stroke.

"I noticed the problem for about a week. When I bent over to tie my shoes I would get a little pain in my head here and I just assumed, take an Advil and it will go away. And, it did," Ditka explained. "I didn't worry about it. But it was a little more serious than that."

While the Hall of Famer has stayed in relatively good health since suffering a heart attack back in 1988, he still admits, the stroke scared him.

"Well, when you're sitting there and all of a sudden you're trying to shuffle some cards and your right arm and right hand won't work and your words are all jumbled and slurred. And I was dumb enough to say I'm gonna drive myself home. My friend said ‘nope, you're getting in the car, we're going to the hospital.' And, right away they said you had a stroke…a small stroke. But, small, big, otherwise, they're still scary."

As far as things left to accomplish in life, Ditka says, "I like to watch my grand kids grow up and, you know, that's all part of it. But, I learned a long time ago that we don't have any guarantees. You can't draw a game plan for life and say this is what's gonna happen to me, you know? You gotta play by their rules."

Ditka says the stroke has been a humbling experience with an outpouring of love. Though he's feeling good now, he is still recovering and will miss his weekend broadcasting duties at ESPN.

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