Former Flyers star Brian Propp to skate in alumni game months after stroke

Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Brian Propp.
Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Brian Propp.

It has been a long, arduous haul for former Philadelphia Flyers star Brian Propp.

Some 16 months ago the 57-year-old suffered a debilitating stroke which left him unable to speak. Even today, Propp told WPVI-TV that he still has trouble dressing and feeding himself.

It’s a little awe inspiring, then, to find out Propp will be one of the stars skating in Saturday’s alumni game for the Flyers against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s part of the Flyers’ 50th anniversary celebrations.

“I have to take it slowly. Mentally, I’m not there yet. My brain doesn’t work that well yet. I have trouble with numbers, days of the week, and things like that. So it’s just going to take me a little time,” Propp told reporter Jamie Apody.

Propp suffered his stroke in September of 2015 and has been on the mend ever since, telling the TV station:

“I remember falling out of bed in the middle of the night,” he recalls.

Propp’s right side was motionless and his speech garbled.

The stroke was likely due to an episode of atrial fibrillation, or A-fib.

Propp was treated for A-fib several years ago, and thought it was under control.

During the rehabilitation process, doctors used skating as a way to help Propp’s recovery.

Since his stroke Propp has become an advocate for heart health – particularly for A-fib – and has even set up the Brian Propp Helping Hands Project which is aimed at raising money for a scholarship to help stroke patients receive – in many cases – costly therapy.

And while his recovery is still ongoing, his ability to be back out on the ice has impressed many of his former teammates and friends.

“Anybody that knows Brian knows he’s one of the most positive and upbeat people I’ve ever met. Nothing like that is going to keep Brian down,” said former Flyers defenceman Mark Howe.

“That’s amazing. Just to see the strides he’s made since his accident, it’s tremendous. To see him out there and the way he’s moving, it’s great. It’s inspiring,” former Flyers forward John LeClair said.