Sports

Hockey great Gordie Howe can't walk and has limited speech after strokes, son says

  • March 31, 2013: Former Detroit Red Wings player Gordie Howe signs autographs for fans in celebration of his 85th birthday before the start of the Red Wing's NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Detroit, Michigan.

    March 31, 2013: Former Detroit Red Wings player Gordie Howe signs autographs for fans in celebration of his 85th birthday before the start of the Red Wing's NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Detroit, Michigan.  (Reuters)

  • Oct. 31, 2014: Fans wave "Get Well Gordie" signs for Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe during the first period of an NHL hockey between the Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings, in Detroit.

    Oct. 31, 2014: Fans wave "Get Well Gordie" signs for Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe during the first period of an NHL hockey between the Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings, in Detroit.  (AP)

Gordie Howe is comfortable as he makes a long recovery from two strokes, but the hockey great can't walk and has limited speech, one of his sons said Sunday.

Mark Howe said his 86-year-old father's vital signs are good and he's aware of the reasons for his condition. He added that an epidural reduced pain stemming from spinal surgery last summer.

"He's unable to walk and his speech is very minimal," said Mark Howe, like his father a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. "After his first stroke, within a week, he was up to walking 40 to 50 feet.

"They did his first physical therapy after the epidural. He tried standing twice over 20 minutes and it took every ounce of energy he had and totally drained him."

Gordie Howe suffered what his children called a serious stroke in late October and another in early November. He's been staying at his daughter's home in Lubbock, Texas.

He has lived with his children since the death of his wife, Colleen, in 2009. He has had dementia for several years.

Known as "Mr. Hockey," Howe was the NHL's Most Valuable Player six times. He played on four Stanley Cup championship teams in Detroit during a 25-year stint that began in 1946. The league scoring records he set stood until Wayne Gretzky broke them.