Patriots Pro Bowl linebacker Tedy Bruschi has suffered a mild stroke, a team spokesman confirmed, and the popular nine-year veteran remained in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston last night.
A team source had told the Globe yesterday 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 unknown.
Bruschi, 31, who was taken by ambulance from his North Attleborough home Wednesday, had been suffering persistent headaches and, according to a 911 call from his wife, Heidi, ''blurred vision and numbness on the right side of his body."
''Tedy is in good condition and, as always, his spirits are high," said Patriots spokesman Stacey James. ''He is walking and talking normally and stressed that he would like to thank everyone for keeping him and his family in their thoughts and prayers."
The Patriots said Bruschi could be released from the hospital as early as today.
Earlier, Bruschi had been described by a player who visited him as in ''good spirits and joking around." Most visits were limited to Bruschi's immediate family and some Patriots personnel. Team owner Robert Kraft's wife, Myra, was seen visiting last night.
The treatment options facing Bruschi depend heavily on the type of stroke he had, and the options range from surgery to simply taking aspirin to thin his blood.
Bruschi, whom teammates often refer to as the heart and soul of the Patriots' defense, played for the AFC in the Pro Bowl in Honolulu last Sunday. Dr. Tim Olderr of the Straub Sports Medicine Center in Honolulu said he saw Bruschi during the game and he looked fine. Olderr said that if Bruschi had requested any medication it would have been reported to him, but as far as he knows, Bruschi never requested anything.
Olderr said there were also no concussive episodes reported in the game.
Olderr said the Pro Bowl is staffed by him, as the head physician, and two doctors for each team. These doctors would have come from the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Atlanta Falcons.
Bruschi made one tackle in the game, on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Javon Walker, but it didn't appear to be a major collision.
Bruschi, whose on-field intensity and work ethic made him a fan favorite, received overwhelming support from New England and beyond, including in Fort Myers, Fla., where Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling reported to Red Sox camp with Bruschi's ''54" game jersey. Well-wishers called into Patriots headquarters at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
''The outpouring of support has been overwhelming and the Bruschi family is very appreciative," said James.
Bruschi was the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week three times (including the divisional playoff win over Indianapolis) in the Patriots' third Super Bowl-winning season and was a second-team Associated Press selection. He finished second on the team with 128 tackles.
Scott Allen of the Globe staff and correspondent Pat Bigold contributed to this report.