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Jeff Katzner

Living Well after a Stroke

Holy Name Patient Stories - Jeff Katzner

Jeff Katzner, a long-time football player and now assistant coach at Don Bosco High School, fought the game of his life when a rare stroke sidelined him.

Jeff, 63 at the time, had been having some minor symptoms for about a month. A few times he felt like he was going to faint but the feeling would pass. One night he seemed to be having trouble staying in a lane on the highway. He attributed the experiences to being tired and didn’t give them much thought.

One January day, Jeff finished exercising when he felt himself collapsing. He was sweating profusely. When he hit the floor, Jeff couldn’t move. He knew he was in bad shape; he just hoped he wasn’t dying. Jeff’s wife found him and called 911, who brought him to the Holy Name's Emergency Department, a designated Primary Stroke Center.

"I was in really bad shape when I got there - I couldn't move and I started getting sick to my stomach," said Jeff, from Bogota. "But everyone was so good to me - the nurses and all the staff really took good care of me."

Tests showed that Jeff's symptoms were caused by a stroke in his cerebellum, a rare type of stroke that affects movement and balance. Dr. Marissa Oller, a neurologist at Holy Name, led his care and recovery. "Dr. Oller is just amazing," Jeff said. "She's a very down-to-earth, caring and knowledgeable. When I come back for follow-up visits, she listens to how I’m talking and looks at my motor skills. She's on top of my condition and care."

After returning home from a physical rehabilitation facility, Jeff pushed himself to regain his physical strength. His goal was two-fold: not to be a burden to his family and to get back to coaching. He played football in high school and then a few years as a semi-pro. He moved into coaching and has worked with kids from Little League age through high school.

Within two weeks, Jeff was walking a mile. He made a solid recovery, though he has some slight balance issues. "I am back to living my life, and I'm grateful to the people at Holy Name who were so compassionate and took such good care of me."

Learn more about Neurology at Holy Name