February 22, 2019 8:42 pm
Updated: February 22, 2019 8:43 pm

Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart fighting for stroke victims on the road to recovery

Former professional wrestler Bret 'the hitman' Hart is vocal spokesperson for people going through stroke recovery through March of Dimes.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
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The excellence of execution. The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart.

Bret Hart has been a household name for Canadian wrestling fans across the country, spanning generations.

In 2002, after a seemingly non-threatening bicycle accident that caused Hart to hit his head, he suffered a stroke that caused complete paralysis of the left side of his body. Months of physical therapy and courage gave Hart his mobility back.

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While Hart may not be competing for championship titles in the professional wrestling circuit anymore, he’s still fighting for a cause.

Hart is now a vocal spokesperson for people going through stroke recovery through March of Dimes. March of Dimes is an organization that helps people get the support they need when overcoming a stroke and other forms of disability. Hart is not only a stroke survivor but has also battled through a cancer diagnosis and is now 100 per cent clear of it.

Hart spoke to Jody Vance on the Simi Sara Show about his journey through stroke recovery.

“You gotta stay at it, you can’t lose hope,” he said. “You have to listen to everything that these physiotherapy people are telling you to do so that you can recover.”

‘The Hitman’ was a household name during the peak popularity of professional wrestling during the 90s. If you were to say that Bret Hart was the greatest professional wrestler of all time, there would be very few who would argue even to this day.

Bret Hart’s professional wrestling career spanned over 25 years. He got his start in the Stampede Wrestling promotion, which was run by his father, the legendary Stu Hart. He got his big break in the mid-80s when he joined the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment.)

After many championship runs with the World Wrestling Federation, Hart found himself at a crossroads — stay with the company he’s been with for the majority of his adult life, or crossover to the competition, World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

WATCH: Bret Hart talks about March of Dimes Stroke Recovery Program

Deciding to take his chances with the competing WCW, he found himself with a team of writers and producers who were disorganized. Hart’s professional wrestling career was cut short when he took a kick to his head from the wrestler Goldberg, which gave him a career-ending concussion.

Hart had a run of unfortunate events following his concussion and tenure with the WCW.

READ MORE: Women two times more likely to have stroke or die after aortic surgery: study

CKNW host Jody Vance with Bret The Hitman Hart.

LISTEN: Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, on his journey through stroke recovery:

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Immediately following his bike accident, Hart initially did not even realize something was so severely wrong. Believing his pride got the better of him, Hart fended off a few concerned citizens who approached him to ask if he was alright. “I tried to pretend I wasn’t hurt. I thought I had a pinched nerve.”

Having survived prostate cancer, Hart is also a very vocal spokesperson for cancer awareness.

“The one thing any man out there can do is get checked after 40, and continue to get checked.”

After needing to spend so much time at health-care facilities, Hart’s very grateful for the health-care professionals who helped him get to this point in his life today, and for the Canadian health-care system overall.

“If I was an American wrestler having all these surgeries and difficulties I’ve had since my career was over, I’d probably be broke today,” he said.

Hart said he was asked by his doctor if he could live with his physical state after his recovery and spoke about his reaction to that question.

“Absolutely. I’ll never complain about any of the deficiencies from my stroke. I have a little bit of weaknesses on my left side and a droopy smile, but compared to being in a wheelchair I thought it was just a miracle to get out of the wheelchair.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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