How Michael Johnson made a full recovery from stroke

In an interview to The Telegraph, UK, Michael Johnson admitted it took him 15 minutes to walk 200m - the same distance he ran in 19.32 seconds at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson was once the fastest man on the planet.   -  Getty Images

Four-time Olympic champion and once the fastest man on the planet, Michael Johnson, has opened up about his battle to regain mobility post a stroke in August this year.

The American track and field athlete suffered a mini-stroke, losing all functions in his lower left leg and most of the left side of his body. He admitted in an interview to The Telegraph, UK that while recovering, it took him 15 minutes to walk 200m - the same distance he ran in 19.32 seconds (a former world record) at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

"The first question you have is: Will I be able to recover? Will I be able to walk again? Will I be able to stand again?," he told The Telegraph.

"The scariest part is the doctors saying there is no answer. Only time will tell. That is very scary.

You're forced to think about what your life might be like if that worse-case scenario is reality," he said.

The stroke came as a shock to 51-year-old Johnson whose lifestyle didn't suggest any red flags.

"I don't have a history of heart disease, I don't smoke, I was working out when this happened, I don't eat junk food. So initially I was very angry thinking I'd done all of the right things and made all of the sacrifices so why is this happening to me?," Johnson recalled.

With strength of mind combined with meticulous physical therapy, Michael Johnson was able to completely recover from the stroke in just a fortnight.   -  Getty Images

 

Johnson had to start from scratch - teaching himself how to walk again. He needed the same determination that he required to become one of the best athletes in history.

"I was literally waking up every day with one goal. I just had to get back into the same mindset that I did while I was competing and training for the Olympics."

With that strength of mind combined with meticulous physical therapy, Johnson was able to ditch his walking stick in just a matter of days and celebrated his 51st birthday with a workout on his terrace exactly a fortnight after the stroke.