BEATRICE, Neb. – Quite simply, Bryan Cook is lucky to be alive. This past February, Cook got a wake-up call that would send him to the hospital and leave him fighting for his life.
"I was getting ready for a baseball banquet and just collapsed in the hall after I took a shower, lost my balance and I couldn't feel my right side, and thank god my wife was home, she's a life-saver," Cook said.
The 53-year-old had had a stroke and doctors were not optimistic about a quick recovery.
"They thought it would take years to rehabilitate and be back to walking and talking again, and talking is my livelihood on the radio. So that was kind of scary," he said.
But Cook soon realized that he was not alone in his battle to recover.
"Because the community support here in Beatrice and a place called Paradise, which is the surrounding area of Beatrice, because this is where I live, they all showed support, whether it was through fundraisers, prayers, thoughts, cards, phone calls, it made me realize this is my home and they wanted me back," Cook said.
Cook, a U.S. Army veteran, went through months of agonizing rehab at Bryan West in Lincoln and finally returned home in May. The entire town of Beatrice welcomed him home, especially his co-workers.
"They're more than just work people, they're work family to me cause they were up there supporting me as well," Cook said.
Cook returned to work 4 months after his stroke.
"It felt like years, it really did, through all I had to go through to get back," he said.
Jay Hannah couldn't be more impressed with the co-worker and friend he calls a father figure.
"I always knew he'd be back, but just the speed that it's happened has just been incredible to me," Hannah said.
"It's hard to describe...this is a miracle," said Dave Niedfeldt, who is Cook's boss.
Niedfeldt said the entire town of Beatrice rallied around Cook.
"There was a huge outpouring, and I just think everybody looked at Bryan, not as the KWBE sportscaster, but Bryan Cook as the friend," Niedfeldt said.
And through it all, the Texas native learned a lot about how important it is for people to take care of themselves.
"My wife and my son are victims of a stroke because I'm a survivor of a stroke, I made them victims for not doing my doctor checkups," Cook said.
Cook thought he was in excellent shape before he collapsed.
"I had this male thing about, arrogance maybe, about not going to doctor checkups. I had no idea I had high blood pressure, which could have triggered this stroke. If I'd known that, I wouldn't have had to go through this," Cook said.
Cook wants all of us to benefit from the sobering lesson that he learned through his painful journey of 2017.
Do you and your loved ones a favor, and always, always get doctor checkups on a regular basis.