Duncan’s story: 2-2 at half time with everything to play for

commentator on football pitch

In October 2018, Duncan suffered a major stroke on his 56th birthday, and learned that recovery can take nine to ten years. Four and a half years later, Duncan has resumed writing, and shares his story through an entertaining sports analogy.

With the UK club football season now well underway and with memories of last year’s World Cup tournament, Duncan feels this is a good time to share his story.

Stroke City made an explosive and totally unexpected start to this important cup tie versus Duncan F.C. to immediately go ahead 1-0, with a ruthless attack that saw Blood Clot combining with Haemorrhagic Transformation to produce left-side paralysis. Things almost got worse and it took a near-miraculous save by Duncan F.C.’s keeper, Emergency Craniectomy, just to keep them in the game. In the crowd, chants could be heard, saluting this indomitable defensive unit with their adopted name: "NHS Heroes!, NHS Heroes!"

Duncan F.C. were on the back foot but they were not out of the game and, as the home fans knew, they would never go down without a fight. With the defensive line shored up, Duncan’s midfield powerhouse of Family and Friends also imposed itself on the game, soon tying in with the hard-working Stroke Association, visibly lifting the morale and performance of the whole team. The match had settled in for a quiet and cagey period, with both sides trying to figure each other out.

The dynamic duo, Therapy twins, Physio and Occupational, made a masterful tactical move for Team Duncan to break the deadlock. They inspired a redoubled effort from the team and Duncan F.C. were soon back on the front foot. And then from the front foot to both feet – their equaliser, ”First Walking Steps” was jubilantly celebrated by both the team and all their supporters as Duncan brought the scores level to 1-1.

With momentum now on their side, the rejuvenated Team Duncan looked determined to press home their advantage. With help from the fans, who had packed out the home stadium to show their support, Duncan F.C. took the lead with a smart finish by Successful Cognition Test Results to make it 2-1.

Against all odds, Duncan FC.. had turned the match around. After putting on so much pressure at the start, Stroke City seemed subdued. For much of the remaining first half, Team Duncan looked comfortable. However, Stroke City would then make a tactical change of their own. Their previously unknown striker, Epilepsy, a new signing at Stroke City, came off the bench and made an immediate impact, combining with Major Seizure to score with a punishing counter-attack. And so it was 2-2.

It has been a tactic used frequently by Stroke City, making use of gaps in an opponent's formation if it looks off-balance due to brain damage. Personally, I think this ploy goes against the spirit of the game. In any case, the scores are now level at half-time. Stroke City’s late goal seems to have left both Team Duncan and their supporters somewhat confused about their preferred tactics for when play resumes.

And now, we’re going live to the stadium where our pitch-side reporter is hearing exclusively from Duncan F.C.'s manager:

“Of course we’re disappointed to let the opposition equalise so late in the half, but we can’t dwell on the past. We know Stroke City are always a tough team to beat but we’ve shown real promise. I think we've been the better side so far and we need to focus on that. If we keep our focus on the achievements we’ve already made since kick-off and the goals we’ve scored, I believe we can find the faith needed to win the game.”

We clearly have two strong and well-matched teams engaged in this cup tie. The second half looks set to be a war of attrition. We’re expecting a tough battle which is likely to be emotional at times, with many more ups and downs. We could see this match go to extra time, or even penalties, although we hope not, for the sake of the home fans’ nerves!

As for who will win? We don’t condone sports betting, but, if they continue to show the same level of commitment, resilience and positive attitude as they did in the first half, my money is definitely on Team Duncan.

Duncan also feels it may be helpful to some readers to share some advice he was given on coping with the emotional impact of stroke:

"Soon after getting home from hospital I was pleased to be visited by the NHS community rehab team, including a clinical psychologist who gave me this advice “There will be some days when you just want to cry - and that’s OK.”

Duncan Gowing - Stroke survivor

If you would like to share your story with us and be featured on the My Stroke Guide blog, please email the team at mystrokeguide@stroke.org.uk.

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