A Young Dad Pops His Neck…And Gives Himself A Stroke?!

(ABC News)

File this one under Holy Mother Forking Shirtballs.

Who doesn’t love popping their neck? That feeling of released tension coupled with the satisfying cracking noise eliciting either a high five or an, “Ew gross” from the wife is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Welp, I’m gonna ruin it for ya.

According to ABC News, Josh Hader, a 28 year old Dad from Guthrie Oklahoma, had a sore neck the other day, as dads often do. But when he stretched it out and popped it, the left side of his body went suddenly numb.

“The moment I heard the pop, everything on my left side started to go numb,” says Hader. “I got up and tried to get an ice pack from the fridge, and I remember I couldn’t walk straight.”

It turns out, Josh HAD A FREAKIN’ STROKE. Fortunately his Father-In-Law was on hand to rush him to the hospital where Dr. Vance McCollom diagnosed Josh with a tear to his vertebral artery. Cracking his neck bisected the artery, causing a clot at the base of his brain and preventing blood-flow. Let’s look at a scary-ass medical diagram thing to see what he’s talking about:

Vertebral Arteries
(Geeky Medics)

Yikes. But as rough as this sounds, it could have been much worse. Had more clots formed at the base of his brain, this simple stretch that we all enjoy could have killed the young dad. Instead, Josh is now thankfully recovering and in good spirits. While he’s still a little wobbly on his feat, he only had to deal with a few days of vision impairment – and oddly, hiccups.

He told CNN: “Those were terrible. Literally two weeks of straight hiccups since the stroke happened. Towards the end, they would make it almost impossible for me to breathe for a few seconds, and that was scary.”

Cool, so everything is a nightmare. According to Dr. McCollom, the hiccups happened because the stroke occurred near the base of Josh’s brain. Which is where hiccups come from? I don’t know. Personally, I like to think about my insides as, like, a spaceship with tiny little versions of myself running around and manning the controls, because that’s what Calvin and Hobbes taught me.

Calvin Strange Dreams

Now, there is a takeaway from all this, or else we wouldn’t be sharing this story. While this isn’t a common accident, but McCollom said it’s not the first time he’s seen it happen either, so we all need to play it a little safe with our neck cracking from now on. According to McCollom, there is a right and a wrong way to pop your neck.

“If you want to pop your neck, just kind of pop it side to side, don’t twist it. Whenever you twist it, there’s a risk of tearing that vessel.”

So everyone stop pushing for that last satisfying pop! Thanks, doc! I’ll probably also be investing in some Batman-level restraining neck gear as well.


While this is all extremely rough, there is one really inspiring part of the story. After everything he’s been through, the biggest challenge Josh says he faced has been not being able to help his wife take care of their youngest son. A dad, through and through, Josh’s first concern is for his family.

The universe throws us curveballs all the time, and some of them can be life-changing; but as long as dads stay committed to the best job in the world (and don’t twist their neck to hard) they can get through anything. We’re rooting for Josh, and are excited for his road to recovery!