UConn LB Eli Thomas Suffered Stroke, Is in Stable Condition

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 15, 2018

PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 2: View of a Connecticut Huskies helmet during the game between the Huskies and the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on October 2, 2015 in Provo Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

The University of Connecticut and the family of Eli Thomas announced Monday the 22-year-old junior linebacker suffered a stroke last Wednesday.

"Thank you all for your love and well wishes for Eli," his mother, Mary Beth Turner, said in a statement, per Alex Putterman of the Hartford Courant. "To say we are stunned by this turn of events is an understatement! A strong, healthy, 22-year old man having a stroke is not anything we anticipated. However, Eli will fight back as he has with every challenge that has come his way with 'Eli Style.'"

Thomas was serving as a starting linebacker and defensive end for the Huskies, making a triumphant comeback to the field after a third ACL tear cost him the entire 2017 campaign. Prior to UConn, he spent three years at Lackawanna College, though his first two ACL tears meant he didn't see much playing time before his transfer.

This year, he notched 11 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in the team's first four games before a neck injury against Syracuse on Sept. 22 sidelined him for UConn's next two games. 

"I've never had a 'poor me,' 'why me?' attitude," Thomas said in August when discussing his history of injuries, per Putterman. "I don't really complain about it. You can't control it anyway, it's already happened. You've just got to work your way out of it."

Thomas will need that perspective again as he recovers from his unexpected stroke.

"Every day, you just never know what can happen," UConn head coach Randy Edsall said. "Things like this are just very unfortunate. It's one of those things where [you take it] one day at a time and do the very best you can every day because you just never know what can happen."