CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Carolina Panthers defensive end Henry Anderson said he’s hopeful he can return to action on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks after suffering what he called “a minor stroke” in October because of a blood clot in his brain.
The 31-year-old Anderson said he felt numbness in his legs. His speech became slurred on Oct. 22, the day before the Panthers were to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His wife took him to a hospital, where he remained for several days receiving treatment.
The Panthers placed Anderson on the non-football illness list the following week, but the team never explained the move.
“It was a blood clot in the brain, that’s what the issue was,” Anderson told reporters on Wednesday. “We got it resolved pretty quickly.”
Anderson said he now realizes he’s fortunate it wasn’t any worse.
“I didn’t know much about strokes, but I found out more about them and realized I got pretty lucky avoiding anything serious and long-term,” Anderson said. “I am glad that I was kind of oblivious when it happened because I would have been a little more panicked had I realized what was going on. But like I said, I got pretty lucky.”
Anderson has since met with specialists and had numerous blood tests to ensure he has no lingering issues. Team medical officials cleared him to resume playing football.
Anderson said doctors never determined what caused the blood clot.
“Every test we looked at came negative,” Anderson said. “I think it was something that I got unlucky because they ran a ton of tests, and everything was good. There wasn’t anything that showed up, or they could point to that they said could have caused it.”
Carolina designated Anderson to return from the non-football injury list on Wednesday. Interim coach Steve Wilks said he hopes Anderson will return on the field Sunday.
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Teammate Brian Burns said he was shocked when he heard the news.
“It was scary to me when we found out he had a stroke because he was so young, and he’s an athlete,” Burns said. “He is like in top-tier shape. I feel like most of the times when I hear about strokes, it is older people or obese people or maybe because of a heat stroke, or something like that.”
Anderson is in his eighth season. He was a third-round draft pick in 2015 by the Indianapolis Colts. He also spent time with the New England Patriots and New York Jets before signing with the Panthers this offseason.