GARLAND — Bobby Hannah can still feel the effects of the stroke he suffered a year ago.
He has limited use of his left arm and finds it harder to keep up his energy throughout the day.
Nevertheless, he’s on the basketball court, getting a second chance at his first year as the head girls coach at Bear River High School.
“It’s been a long process but I’ve gotten to a point of progression where now I’m ready to get back on the court and coach with the girls on a full-time basis,” Hannah said.
Hannah was living in Draper with his wife, Erica, and his 2-year-old daughter in July 2015 when he was offered a Spanish teaching position at Bear River Middle School and the girls basketball job at Bear River High School. Hannah went to Malad High School in Idaho, just 35 miles north of Garland, and his wife was a three-sport athlete at Bear River.
Hannah, who is 28, suffered the stroke during an open gym on Sept. 28, 2015, and was in the hospital until Nov. 8. He had part of his skull removed so the blood clots could be removed and his brain could be allowed to swell. According to Hannah, doctors believe the stroke was caused by a dissection of an artery that goes from his heart to his brain, which allowed for blood to leak out.
“I’m not sure why there was a dissection, but that’s what caused the stroke,” Hannah said.
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A month after a portion of his skull was removed, it was reattached. During that month, Hannah says he had to wear a helmet for protection whenever he got out of bed.
According to Erica Hannah, the family moved to the Garland area in part to be closer to their families and friends. It turned out to be more of a blessing than the family could have anticipated.
“As soon as we got home (from the hospital), it was just an outpouring of love and service and people just went out of their way to help us,” Erica Hannah said. “There’s no way to tell people how much you really appreciate it. We would not have survived without them.”
Little by little, Bobby Hannah started getting more involved with the basketball team. He attended games as a spectator and started coaching again in the summer.
He was cleared to drive when the school year started. He said he has a “special knob on the steering wheel” to assist him with turning and a “cool little adapter” that’s attached to the turn signal. He’s back to teaching Spanish full time at Bear River Middle School.
“I’m really excited to be back involved with the school and community, and especially the team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this basketball season.”
Bobby Hannah said he is on blood thinners that should prevent any more dissections and that the chances of another stroke are “really low.”
Despite the ordeal, he has a positive attitude.
“When I was in the hospital … it seemed like there were always other people going through the same thing that I was and I was better off. So I kind of went with that attitude that it always could have been worse and I was very lucky to be alive, and also be able to get back to doing the things I enjoy doing,” he said.
Bear River High athletic director Van Park, Bobby Hannah’s father-in-law, said the recovery has been “miraculous” because doctors thought it would be two or three years before coaching would be an option.
“One of his neurosurgeons said it best a couple weeks ago. Of everybody that’s been close to Bobby’s severity, he’s by far ahead of them all,” Park said.