Belvidere man overcomes two blows to become a bodybuilder

BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) – Stress, anxiety and poor eating habits lead to two strokes in a Belvidere resident, whom doctors did not expect to survive.

Brady Johnson didn’t read too much into it when he had a headache in 2003. He was in the military and thought it was because he ran 6 miles. But it wasn’t until the headache became more persistent that the doctors decided to perform brain surgery.

When he woke up from the operation, he received shocking news.

“They said I had such a bad stroke that if it had been anywhere else I wouldn’t have survived,” Johnson says. “I thought my life was over.”

Doctors say Johnson made a miraculous recovery and in 2015 he was ready to retire. But life got worse when Johnson suffered his second stroke.

“The doctor came in and he said Mr Johnson, with such a massive stroke, you will never speak clearly again. Mr Johnson. You will never have the opportunity to drive again. Mr Johnson. You will never walk without help.

Johnson knew he had to make a change. A change the doctors did not find realistic, but it was the difference between life and death.

“I lived to eat. But now I eat to live.

He also started going to the gym, until he had the strength to compete in bodybuilding competitions. Nine competitions later, Johnson hopes her story will inspire people to take care of themselves.

“One of the most important things that I want to see go away and people walk away with is knowing what can break you. But also things that can lift your spirits. Because sometimes in stress , we have to be our own cheerleaders.

Johnson plans to speak to NIU medical school students and faculty this summer.

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Teresa E. Burton