As the Alabama Crimson Tide men’s basketball program is set to open their regular season Tuesday night against Southern University, it marks a miraculous return for their radio play-by-play voice Chris Stewart.
According to Christopher Walsh of the Alabama Maven, on the night of April 15th, the Alabama announcer suffered a stroke. That night, Stewart who regularly goes for precautionary physicals based on red flags due to his family history, would not wake up from what his wife first thought was a bad dream. Stewart was brought to a hospital where a blood clot was found on his second CAT scan. After being transferred to a specialist, hours passed, but with time running out the medical staff was able to clear the clot and Stewart opened his eyes.
Weeks after the stroke, Stewart made an appearance in the booth during an Alabama baseball game and throughout the football season he contributed as the TV studio host, but last week was his first opportunity to call a full game in a Crimson Tide basketball exhibition
“When I heard the situation he was in my heart went out to him,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “I just felt helpless, because we care about him so much. So to have him back, calling the game for us tonight, it was just a thrill for all of us.
“He’s a part of our family.”
While no broadcaster wants to make mistakes, for Stewart they now create a deeper concern, telling Walsh, “tonight I’ll wonder if it’s the stroke.”
At the start of the football season, Stewart tweeted, according to doctors, less than two percent of those who suffer a stroke like Stewart have recovered to the condition he was just four months later.
“I think I was always grateful for who and what I have, but I think I’ve just become even more grateful for every minute,” he said. “I’m not trying to be overly dramatic when I say that, but it’s the truth”
Now, nearly seven months after suffering the stroke, the recovery for Stewart continues, but his full-time return to the radio booth signals an astounding return, one that everyone in the Alabama community is grateful to see.