MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Krause is a long-time popular sportscaster facing a battle bigger than any he's reported on the court or field. He's battling back after suffering a stroke.
Krause has been a part of the Milwaukee sports landscape for 25 years, on radio and TV. These days, he's the host of Sports 32's roundtable program, and the aptly named "Dennis Krause Show." People see and hear him every day, but he still surprised many by revealing in a blog just last month he had suffered a stroke over the winter.
"When the doctor said you had a stroke, at first I was perplexed because I didn't feel any pain. I thought I was too young for a stroke, not knowing at that time that you can have a stroke at any age. The next thought I had was when can I go back to work? This isn't like a cold or the flu. It takes awhile to get over it," Krause said.
In his late 40s, having made his living speaking cleverly and spontaneously, Krause could see his professional mortality.
"You think about the fact that in a blink, your career could be gone, but your career is such a small part of you life and I think that was part of the lesson I needed to learn through all this. Just like that, it can go, so you have to have a balance to your life. You have to exercise. You have to eat right. This was a huge wake up call or warning sign to me," Krause said.
Krause was off the air for six weeks and felt like an athlete on the disabled list -- away from his teammates and his profession. Once he felt up to returning, Krause knew he had to prove to his employers, viewers and listeners he belonged back on the air.
"I feel like it's a victory to have come back at all. If it ends tomorrow, that's fine, because I have had blessing after blessing. I have had a career that I could only dream of. But I wanted to come back to leave on my own terms. I wanted to come back and try to fight through this," Krause said.
Krause is a four-time Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year award winner, who has always had respect of his peers. Now, he is telling perhaps his most important story.
"It's outside my comfort zone to open up like this, but I would say there's two reasons. One -- if you are thinking you might have high blood pressure, my recommendation is to have it checked. If you need medication, take the medication to avoid having the stroke. Secondly -- if you have a stroke, I want to provide an example of someone who had one and yet can function in a visible position where you have to speak in public," Krause said.
Krause wants to help folks avoid having a stroke by making good health choices, and to encourage those who have had strokes in their own recovery.