Profiles of Aphasia: Randy Travis
It has been four years since Randy Travis’s stroke, and while he can’t speak, he can still sing a little bit. He recently treated people in Fort Worth, Texas to a few notes:
We’ve been profiling well-known people with aphasia, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Gabby Giffords. We’re now turning our attention to country singer, Randy Travis.
A Stroke in 2013
Randy Travis experienced a stroke in 2013 that has left him unable to speak or move without assistance. He spent 2 1/2 years in daily therapy to regain the ability to do basic tasks.
His personality hasn’t changed. As People magazine reported this summer,
Every fan earned the Travis charisma, the warm smile that was made for the stage, the eyes that are still lit from within. Mary Davis Travis offered strong assurances that her husband’s mental faculties are exactly as they were before the stroke.
“The memory is as sharp as it ever was,” she says. “Everything’s up there, it’s just the aphasia [loss of speech] and getting it out that’s the frustrating part.”
Singing But Not Speaking
Travis has severe aphasia, but he’s still able to sing a few words at a time. It’s an idea also explored in the documentary Still Sophie, which is currently still making its way around the film festival circuit. Sophie speaks haltingly after her stroke, but she’s able to fluidly sing “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”
While Travis does not perform often, he returned to the Grand Ole Opry last year to sing “Amazing Grace”:
He keeps returning to the stage because he wants to connect with fans, and as his wife states: “Fortunate to still be here and still fighting. Hope we can give other people hope.”
Image: EMR via Flickr via Creative Commons license
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