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Report cites Bruschi's heart

Linebacker may need treatment for `hole'

Patriots Pro Bowl linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who suffered a mild stroke Feb. 16, is scheduled to undergo a procedure to repair a hole in his heart, according to television station KOLD of Tucson.

Scott Kilbury, the station's sports director, told the Globe last night that he received the information from a "friend of the family" who has been close to the Bruschi situation. Kilbury added that the procedure was to take place this week in Boston, and may already have been done yesterday.

Bruschi played for the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1992-95, and with family in the area, he maintains strong ties there.

The Patriots would neither confirm nor deny the report last night. Team spokesman Stacey James said all information would have to come from the Bruschi family.

Last month, Bruschi was taken from his North Attleboro home by ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital after suffering persistent headaches, and, according to a 911 call from his wife, Heidi, blurred vision, and numbness on his right side. He was released two days later.

A team source told the Globe then that Bruschi was found to have a leaking blood vessel in his brain, which is one type of stroke, and that his football future was uncertain.

When he was released, the 31-year-old Bruschi -- who helped the Patriots win their third Super Bowl in four years just two weeks earlier -- appeared wobbly as he walked out of the hospital, but said he felt fine.

Neurologists not involved with Bruschi's treatment have said that young stroke patients could look forward to a healthy, active life, but not necessarily resume a career in the NFL.

"It would depend on the treatment that someone requires and the kind of sport they're returning to," Dr. Arthur Day, director of the Neurological Sports Injury Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital, told the Globe Feb. 18.

Bruschi played in the Pro Bowl in Honolulu Feb. 13, three days before he was taken to the hospital.

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