Two decades to the day that he suffered the attack, Bret Hart has discussed his recovery after suffering a stroke.
The wrestling world was shocked to learn that, on 24 June 2002, the legendary Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart had suffered a stroke in a bicycle accident. The Calgary Herald reported at the time that ‘The Excellence of Execution’ had struck a pothole and subsequently flown over the handlebars.
Owing to the incident, Hart was left with complete paralysis on the left side of his body. Although he remains in good health today and has even wrestled since, Bret Hart would have lasting effects following his stroke, leading to him becoming a spokesperson for March of Dimes Canada’s Stroke Recovery Canada program.
Taking to his official Facebook page, the former multi-time World Champion has reflected on the past twenty years, accompanied by a photo of him walking down the ramp for his WrestleMania XXVI clash with Vince McMahon. Hart acknowledged that there was a moment when he didn’t think he’d be able to do such a basic task:
“Walking down the aisle at Wrestlemania 26 in Phoenix. Today marks 20 years since I suffered a stroke. I chose this photo because there was a time when I didn’t think this moment would ever happen again, especially when I was struggling to turn my hand over, unable to walk or stand, and struggling to talk. When you suffer a stroke, the doctors never promise that you’ll have a full recovery.
I still have some weakness on my left side to this day, but I’m very fortunate to be here today having recovered what I did. I will forever be grateful to the doctors and therapists at the Foothills Hospital here in Calgary and my fans around the world for their prayers. While the match itself will never be in anyone’s top 10, this moment represents one of my greatest victories.”
Although it’s a written message on social media rather than the man himself speaking, there’s a clear aura of gratitude surrounding Bret Hart when he discusses this heartbreaking topic. Given the severity of the situation, a recovery of any form is classed as a victory.
Miraculously, Bret Hart has wrestled a combined eleven matches since suffering the stroke, beginning as he defeated the WWE Chairman in their aforementioned bout at the 26th annual ‘Showcase of the Immortals’. He last wrestled in September 2011 alongside John Cena, besting Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez.
Although linked with WWE and WCW for the duration of his iconic career, Bret Hart has made appearances for both All Elite Wrestling and IMPACT Wrestling, the latter via satellite, in recent years as well. He most recently appeared for Big Time Wrestling, managing FTR.