Josh Hader said, “The moment I heard the pop, everything on my left side started to go numb. I got up and tried to get an ice pack from the fridge and I remember I couldn’t walk straight.”
His father-in-law rushed him to the ER. “I had about six or seven nurses and doctors surrounding me,” Josh explained.
Dr. Vance McCollom works at Mercy Hospital. He said, “He could’ve had a life-ending stroke. He could’ve died.”
Josh tore his “vertebral artery,” a crucial vessel leading to the brain.
Dr. McCollom said, “If you have a stroke in that area you can end up with a patient… they’re locked in. they completely understand what’s going on, but they can’t communicate. They can’t move anything. They can’t speak. They can’t breathe.”
Thankfully, Josh’s stroke wasn’t that significant. But it did cause a lot of damage.
Dr. McColllom said, “One of the muscles that goes to his eye is weak because the nerve was injured.”
Josh had to wear an eyepatch for several days.
Doctors decided Josh’s condition was best treated with medicine and physical therapy.
“For the first few days I couldn’t walk without a walker,” Josh said.
Even though the walker is now put away, he still has a lot of trouble. “It is difficult for me to walk with my left leg,” he said. Also, a very strange side-effect: “Had hiccups for about a week and a half straight.” Painful hiccups that, he said, nearly caused a panic attack.
But Josh said the most difficult part has been emotional, not being able to help his wife with the two young children.
“I can’t pick him up outta the crib,” Josh said, “give him milk in the middle of the night. I can’t do any of that.”
Dr. McCollom said, “Is he always going to have consequences of a stroke? Probably so.”
We asked the doctor, is there’s any safe way to pop your neck? “If you wanna pop your neck,” Dr. McCollum said, “just kinda pop it side to side. Don’t twist it. Whenever you twist it there’s a risk of tearing that vessel. Say my hand is his head, I suspect he just turned it real sharply and then sharp and up and back, that’s what really pinched it.”
And before Josh went into his procedure, he wanted to tell his wife one thing. “He wanted to tell his wife he was sorry that he had popped his neck. His wife had been telling him, don’t pop your neck. You’re gonna cause a stroke,” Dr. McCollum said.