When you ask Cory Weissman ’12, how the stroke he suffered during his freshman year affected who he is today, his answer may surprise you.
“It was the greatest gift I was ever given,” he says. “Truly a blessing.”
Weissman was recruited to play basketball at Gettysburg after his standout performance at Jackson Memorial High School in N.J. As a point guard, Cory scored over 1,000 points in his high school career, becoming only the 9th player in the school’s history to mark such an achievement.
At Gettysburg, he aspired to be the Bullets starting point guard by his sophomore year.
But it was during his freshman year that tragedy struck.
It was March 26, 2009 - a date that will forever be etched in Cory’s memory.
A tangle of arteries and veins in Cory’s brain – an arteriovenous malformation, or AVM –burst. He’d been born with this problem, but as with most AVMs, it was discovered in a brutal way.
Up to this point Cory had never suffered blurred vision or headaches. He was one of the ten percent whose first symptom was a brain hemorrhage.
He was left paralyzed on his left side.
Over the next three years, Cory would learn to walk again, to run, to re-learn simple tasks like tying his shoelaces.
His senior year, he would return to the court to score his lone point as a Bullet.
Cory’s inspiring recovery and against-all-odds comeback is chronicled in a film set to premiere this month.
1000 to 1: the Cory Weissman Story premiered at Gettysburg College’s Majestic Theater on March 1 and 2. The DVD can be pre-ordered on Amazon and purchased at the Gettysburg College bookstore and at the Gettysburg Hotel beginning March 4.
In the film, Cory is portrayed by David Henrie (How I Met Your Mother, Wizards Of Waverly Place). The film co-stars Golden Globe and Emmy® winner Beau Bridges (The Descendants, The Millers).
Cory, now 24 years old, lives in Los Angeles and works as a personal trainer.
He still plays basketball recreationally and says the sport remains his passion. He credits the game as his motivator to recover.
“For most people, playing basketball can only take you so far, but for me, it helped me get to where I am today. Getting back on the court was my number one goal from the second I woke up in the hospital.”
The American Stroke Association has already recognized Cory as a Stroke Hero for his work inspiring other stroke survivors on their road to recovery. He continues to work with the association through its Together to End Stroke initiative to help people prevent, treat and beat stroke. Cory’s dream is to become a motivational speaker.
“My stroke laid out for me exactly what I am supposed to do with my life, and that is to tell my story,” Cory said. “This movie portrays just one step of my journey. I have a lot of hard work ahead of me.”
Cory hopes that through a speaking career and the movie people will learn the lessons he was taught about life, but without having to suffer the pain he went through.
“Overcoming obstacles and succeeding always starts with taking a first step…you will get knocked down, but it's up to you if you want to stay down, or get back up.”