James McPherson, a cardiothoracic surgeon in the Tommy Lasorda Heart Institute at Centinela Hospital, said the procedure to fix the heart should not necessarily preclude a patient from resuming a career as a professional football player. But, he said, the injury to the brain as a result of a stroke is "a more unpredictable situation."
Bruschi said that his decision to return came only after specialists gave him a clean bill of health and the OK to play.
"This isn't something you just go for," Bruschi said. "This is something you make sure everything's right.
"I mean, come on, I lost my sight. One morning, one day you wake up and you can't see your sons very clearly anymore because you've had a stroke. You can't walk right. Two days before, you're playing in a football game, now you can barely go down the steps. Two days before, you're making tackles in the Pro Bowl and then all of a sudden your vision on your left side, you can't see your hand right here.
"I'm not going to jump into something without being absolutely 100% positive -- and I am.... I would never want to put what I have with my family at risk, because first and foremost I am a family man."