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N.C. Central's Phil Spence Coaching Others About Stroke Prevention

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RALEIGH, N.C. — N.C. Central basketball coach Phil Spence has been a real inspiration at the

CIAA tournament

. Spence suffered a stroke a few months ago and now he is coaching others about stroke prevention.

On the court, coach Phil Spence inspires his basketball team at N.C. Central University, but his recovery from a stroke last December is equally inspiring.

"I think everything happens for a reason," Spence said.

Dr. Charles Cook, Spence's doctor, is also impressed with his comeback.

"He's done all the things including losing weight and changing his diet habits," he said. "He's tried to smother his stress factors some."

Strokes are very common among African-Americans. On average, they suffer from stroke and heart disease earlier and more often than any other group.

"It just occurs twice to three times more likely in African-Americans," Cook said.

The CIAA tournament is the perfect opportunity to spread the word about strokes. So far, thousands of fans have taken a "time-out" from the action to get free health screenings.

Cook said even if nature has dealt you a bad hand, you can improve your odds.

"What I like to say is then you play the trump card and the trump card is you," he said.

Checking and keeping your blood pressure under control are two of your best ways to prevent a stroke. Experts said you also need to watch your cholesterol levels and weight. A healthy diet and exercise can also reduce your risk of stroke.


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