UPDATE: After suffering a stroke in July 2016, Richard Williams has been on the path to recover. Not only for himself, his new wife, but for his family as well. The family continues to ask for prayers as he goes through rehab (original story below).
Basic stroke rehabilitation may include some or all of the following activities, depending on the part of the body or type of ability affected.
Strengthening motor skills involves using exercises to help improve your muscle strength and coordination, including therapy to help with swallowing.
Mobility training may include learning to use walking aids, such as a walker or canes, or a plastic brace (orthosis) to stabilize and assist ankle strength to help support your body’s weight while you relearn how to walk.
Constraint-induced therapy, also known as forced-use therapy, involves restricting use of an unaffected limb while you practice moving the affected limb to help improve its function.
Range-of-motion therapy uses exercises and other treatments to help lessen muscle tension (spasticity) and regain range of motion. Sometimes medication can help as well.
He was a fixture at just about every one of his daughters’ games. So it was different that Richard Williams, father of famed tennis superstars Venus and Serena, was not in the stands during his daughter’s Wimbledon championships this past weekend. Well, news just surfaced that the 74-year-old had suffered a stroke.
According to Williams’ third wife, 37-year-old Lakeisha Williams, the patriarch of the Williams family is still recovering.
“His condition is fair; he’s up and walking around, but he’s not at 100 percent,” Lakeisha Williams said.
“He needs speech therapy, psychological therapy and physical therapy, but for now, he refused,” she said. “I’m trying to get him under control and relaxed so that when we come back from out of town we could try to get that going. But he doesn’t wish to be bothered with anybody.”
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“His mind is thinking that they’re going to put him back in ‘prison’—which is what he calls the hospital,” she said. “He thinks we are just going to take him back to the hospital, but that is not correct.”
She added: “His mind is telling him that since he was once in charge of his life, after what’s happened he’s not accepting it.”
“To him he’s a normal person – nothing happened to him.”
Stroke can be caused either by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain (called an ischemic stroke) or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain (called a hemorrhagic stroke). That’s when brain cells begin to die. A TIA (transient ischemic attack), or “mini stroke”, is caused by a temporary clot.
Nearly 800,000 (approximately 795,000) people in the United States have a stroke every year, with about three in four being first-time strokes. African-Americans are more impacted by stroke than any other racial group in America.
Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 people a year (128,978). That’s one in every 20 deaths.
Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds and every four minutes, someone dies of stroke.
Daughters Venus and Serena, of course kept his condition private as they headed to Wimbledon to…
ultimately win in both the doubles (Venus and Serena) and women’s single (Serena) competitions.
Williams had been criticized early on in his daughter’s career about how he trained them. And criticized later in life about everything from his marriage to his appearance in the stands.
“Criticism is one of the greatest things, I think, that we’ve been trained to live through,” Willams said in a 2015 CNN interview.
Richard Williams was no stranger to racism. Growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, in the 1940s and ’50s, he says he witnessed a friend being lynched.
Another died after being run over by a white woman who claimed it was the victim’s fault. “There was no investigation, there was no police car,” he says.
“But that was life. I was close to being killed so many times. A hell of a lot of times.”