CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) – Laying in a hospital bed the day before the Panthers’ October home game against the Buccaneers, Henry Anderson had a question.
“Am I still okay to play tomorrow?” he wondered.
When his doctor said no, it dawned on the 31-year-old Carolina defensive end that he might be out of action for a while.
Perhaps even forever.
“There definitely was a sense of urgency,” he remembers. “There must be something going on.”
As he went to grab lunch near his South End home on Oct. 22, Anderson and his family had no idea their world was about to be turned upside down.
But as soon as he finished up, Anderson knew something was wrong.
“It’s a five-minute walk from the restaurant back to my place,” he said. “My legs just started going numb, which was kind of weird.”
When he started slurring his words, he felt it necessary to get help. Upon arriving at the hospital, it didn’t long for doctors to diagnose the problem.
“I got pretty lucky, and the stroke was super minor,” Anderson said. “They did MRIs and a bunch of scans and stuff. They said the brain looked totally normal.”
However, it still had the potential to end his football career. After a minor operation to remove the blood clot, doctors kept him off the field for over a month before circling back some necessary blood tests.
“I kind of was sweating when I was waiting for the results of that test,” Anderson said. “When it came back negative, I was pretty pumped.”
Returning to practice felt surprisingly routine for Anderson. However, his emotions finally caught up to him when he took the field for his first game back against Seattle on Dec. 11.
“It made me think about like living in the moment a little bit more,” he explained. “Not taking anything for granted.”
He’s back on the field again.
And a newfound appreciation of what Anderson has and what’s to come.