When Adam Schefter broke the story earlier this morning that Gary Kubiak was given medication that's typically used to break up blood clots in people who have suffered strokes, the team's denial that Kubiak had suffered a stroke last night rang pretty hollow. Yet technically, the Texans were correct when they said Kubiak was not felled by a stroke. Turns out that Kubes suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack ("TIA"), which is more commonly called a "mini-stroke." Doug Farrar of SI.com has more.
TIAs are caused by blood clots just as stokes are; the difference is that in these cases, the clots clear more quickly. According to the American Stroke Association, most TIAs last about one minute, and generally don’t last longer than five minutes. TIAs don’t generally cause permanent brain damage or loss of motor function, but they are serious warning signs and lead to a higher probability of strokes in the future. About a third of those who have TIAs suffer strokes within a year.
"TIA is a warning stroke and gives a patient time to act and keep a permanent stroke from occurring," Dr. Emil Matarese of St. Mary’s Medical Center in Langhorne, Pa. told the ASA’s website. "By recognizing TIA symptoms and getting to the hospital, the patient can get help in identifying why the TIA occurred and get treatment — either through medication or surgery — that can prevent a stroke from occurring."
The fact that Kubiak likely avoided permanent damage is fantastic news, but the notion of him being vulnerable to a full on stroke in the near future is certainly cause for concern. I sincerely hope he takes all the time he needs to take care of himself. His health is infinitely more important than the 2013 Houston Texans' season.