A teacher says she feels lucky to be alive after a simple fall during her first ever snowboarding lesson led her to have a stroke.
Shona Storr recalls how she woke up hours after the accident at Glasgow Ski and Snowboard Centre and the room was “doing a 360”.
The 33-year-old, from Stepps, North Lanarkshire, said she quickly realised something very serious was wrong.
Shona’s husband John, 27, is an avid snowboarder and she had decided to give it a go on the slopes alongside him, but fell backwards during her lesson.
Scared to “embarrass herself” Shona got back up and carried on with the lesson despite feeling that her neck may be injured.
Shona said: “My husband John is a snowboarder and I thought I would give it bash.
“I went to my first lesson and I fell backwards and the snowboard spun around. I landed in a really awkward position.
“After it happened I didn’t feel well but I just kept going with the lesson because I thought, I’m not going to embarrass myself.
“I just brushed it off and then when I came off, I said to my husband John ‘I feel bit hot and sick’, and my neck was sore.
“But I just thought I had just pulled a muscle and maybe hadn’t eaten enough.”
The couple went for something to eat on their way home but Shona’s symptoms got progressively got worse.
She said: “I went home and went for a nap and woke up and the room was spinning 360. I was screaming for John to come through.
“I felt sick and I couldn’t swallow properly and the right side was numb.”
The couple called NHS24 and were advised to go to an out of hours clinic.
Shona said: “I was seen quite quickly and a nurse thought I had stroke symptoms.
“However, a doctor said I was so young it didn’t make it sense.
“Then I started projectile vomiting and they took it seriously and I was sent to the hospital.”
Shona was sent for a number of tests but it took three days before doctors realised she had suffered a stroke, on account of her age.
It transpired that she had torn an artery in her neck which had cut of the blood supply to her brain, which is known as arterial dissection.
Strokes in young people under the age of 35 are relatively rare - only around three per cent, according to Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland Shona said: “When I was taken down to the stroke unit, they apologised and said they were sorry it hadn’t been found earlier.
“When I fell I tore my artery and the blood couldn’t get through.
“It’s just a one in a million chance of something happening and it did.
“In a way, I think I was lucky but four years later, I still feel unlucky that it happened.
“I can’t even watch snowboarding on TV now.”
The couple are expecting their first child in mid December and Shona will require a caesarian section because she has scar tissue in the artery in her neck.
But she counts herself lucky that she hasn’t suffered any long-term symptoms.
She said: “It was a big part of my brain that was affected but the consultant said youth and health were on my side and that’s why I recovered so quickly.”
Shona’s husband John, an engineer, is running the Great Scottish Run half marathon on September 30 to raise funds for the charity, Chest, Heart, Stroke Scotland.
Shona said:”I had stroke symptoms and it’s about making people aware that if you are experiencing them, go to hospital.
“I’m so proud that John is running to support the great work that CHSS do for people like me who have had a stroke and I can’t wait to cheer him over the finish line.”
Lawrence Cowan, Director of Communications at Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland said: “We are delighted that John is running for Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland and is raising awareness of the impact of stroke.
“Stroke knows no bound, it can happen to anyone at any age.
“Shona’s determination throughout her recovery is an inspiration to others who are living with the effects of stroke in Scotland.
“With people like John and Shona raising funds for CHSS we can make sure that there is no life half lived in Scotland for anyone affected by chest, heart or stroke conditions.”