Abbott Northwestern doctors save 16-year-old stroke patient

A Coon Rapids high school football player has quite the story to tell about a lifesaving medical procedure.

The life saved was his own and it may not have happened if his girlfriend didn't realize something was seriously wrong with him.

Cole Fossland, is a stand out multi-sport athlete at Coon Rapids high school. Whether it’s shotput or on the football field as number 78, he’s rock solid. But something in the rock broke one afternoon at girlfriend’s house.

“And his face was completely drooped on one side and up on the other and I thought he was making a funny face at me, so I said, ‘What’s going on here?’” said Ellie Biggins, Fossland’s girlfriend.

“I was confused because I didn’t know exactly what was going on, because like my whole left side was paralyzed,” Fossland said.

Ellie called 911 and soon Cole was inside the neuro interventional radiology lab at Abbott Northwestern.

At just 16 years old, Cole was having a stroke.

With a radiologic die, Dr. Yasha Kayan located where the clot was cutting off the blood flow to Cole’s brain. He snaked a catheter through Cole’s femoral artery to grab and suck out the clot.

In under an hour after arriving at Abbot, blood flowed once more the right side of Cole’s brain.

 “I woke up and started moving my toes and I looked over at Ellie and I was able to smile with my full face which was pretty amazing,” Fossland recalls.

He was okay because his girlfriend recognized something was wrong all called for help.

“Recognizing those symptoms and getting someone in within what we say is the golden hour is crucial,” said Dr. Mark Young, the Abbott Stroke Center Medical Director.

Strokes in teenagers are very rare. Cole says he still has some weakness in his left side, but otherwise feels almost back to normal.

He credits his girlfriend Ellie saying he probably wouldn’t be here today if not for her help.