Retired NBA Star Charlie Ward Shares His Stroke Story and Vegan Lifestyle

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Retired NBA Star Charlie Ward Shares his Stroke Story and Vegan Lifestyle
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In this episode from 2019, the original StrokeCast crew sat with Heisman Trophy winner and retired professional basketball player Charlie Ward to talk about his experience with a stroke during a church mission trip to Mexico in June 2018. 

This is something that led up to this life-changing event and the lifestyle changes he’s made to ensure he stays healthy and stroke-free.

An Overview

Charlie Ward in Seminole Jersey

In this episode from 2019, they talked with Heisman Trophy winner and retired professional basketball player Charlie Ward about his experience with Stroke in June 2018 while on a church mission trip to Mexico.

Charlie and talked about the things in his life that led up to his stroke and the life style changes he’s made to give himself the best chance to live a long, healthy, and stroke-free life.

After a spectacular multi-sport college athletic career, Charlie graduated in 1994 and joined the NBA. He played professional basketball from 1994 thru 2005 when he retired due to injuries. He transitioned into coaching and coaches basketball at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

The big lesson that comes out of this episode is that we have to take care of ourselves. We have to manage our diets, exercise more, and keep our stress levels under control. It’s not complicated or fancy; we just have to do it.

And that’s easy to forget until a crisis hits. Ineffective habits sneak up on us when we’re not looking. We may plan to deal with them tomorrow because it doesn’t feel like a big deal.

Remember, high blood pressure doesn’t hurt; there’s no pain. There’s just damage until it’s too late.

It often takes a crisis to move us to change, and even that’s not enough.

Charlie’s encounter with stroke in Ensenada Mexico was enough to drive that change. He got more consistent with his workouts. He changed his diet. He worked to reduce his stress while he takes his message and story to athletes and others around the country.

5 Things Charlie Teaches Athletes and Others

  1. Develop good eating habits.
  2. Always do your exercise.
  3. Minimize the stress in your life.
  4. Learn to recognize and respond to the signs of stroke (BE FAST)
  5. Get regular check ups to stay on top of your health.

Who is Charlie Ward?

His Twitter Bio describes him simply:

Man of integrity. Heisman Trophy winner. Retired NBA athlete. Motivational speaker. Philanthropist. Coach. Mentor. Lover of One Woman.

Charlies web has a little more detail.


Charlie Ward, Jr. is a husband, father, mentor and coach who embodies the principles of integrity, hard work and faith in God. He inspires adults and youth alike in the way he carries himself and how he shows up in the world. Described as a once-in-a-lifetime athlete and a once-in-a-lifetime human being, Charlie’s character and his commitment to serve others are deeply respected in the sports community and far beyond. His calm demeanor and powerful leadership message of preparation, perseverance and patience set strong examples for business leaders, organizations, students and families.

Following a nine-year career coaching high school football, Charlie was named head coach of The Florida State University School’s basketball team in Tallahassee, Florida in April 2018. He travels the country delivering his inspirational Charlie’s Chalk Talk motivational speeches. He also has a “Chalk Talk with Charlie” featured segment  every Thursday on  Fox 49’s Live in Tallahassee at 7pm and on where he gives in-depth sports analysis and talks about community events.

Listed among the most outstanding college athletes in modern history, Charlie, a two-sport athlete, was a stellar quarterback in football and an equally impressive point guard in basketball at Florida State University (FSU). During his senior year, he won over thirty awards, including the Heisman Trophy, set nineteen school and seven Atlantic Coast Conference records, subsequently leading the FSU Seminoles to their first-ever National Championship under legendary Coach Bobby Bowden.

Charlie Ward - FSU Seminoles

After graduating from FSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Charlie was drafted twice by Major League Baseball and was a first-round draft pick of the New York Knicks. He went on to play for the Knicks, helping the team reach the playoffs six consecutive years from 1996 to 2001. He played eleven seasons as a leading point guard in the NBA in New York, San Antonio, and Houston, and served as an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets for two years.

Charlie Ward vs Miami Heat

Charlie Ward is a man whose greatness and grace know no bounds. He and his wife Tonja have been married for 23 years and they have three children, Caleb, Hope and Joshua. The Wards underwrote and produced youth development sports camps throughout the country from 1996 – 2006, and continue to quietly donate funds to churches and schools. In 2015, they officially founded the Charlie Ward Family Foundation to leave a legacy of giving back by supporting youth development programs and organizations, and sharing his inspirational message of embracing the process that leads to success.

Hack of the Week

When it comes to switching to a vegan lifestyle or starting an exercise program, just do it. It may not be easy, but it really is that simple.

We have a tendency to over think things and put them off. In reality, what we need to do is just make a decision and take action. That action doesn’t have to get us all the way there. But it’s a start. And then we can do more the next day.

So when it comes to making better life choices, just do it.

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