Professional ice skater Alex Murphy found out she had a condition called patent foramen ovale (PFO), also known as a hole in the heart, which led to her suffering from a stroke when she was in her 20s
Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay nowAlex Murphy shows off her ice skating skills in montageBySara-Aisha KentSenior Showbiz Reporter
- 08:09, 13 Oct 2021
- Updated08:37, 13 Oct 2021
Dancing on Ice professional Alex Murphy – who won the 2020 series alongside Joe Swash – has opened up on having a stroke at the age of 24.
The American figure skater, now 32, has revealed all about the terrifying moment where she collapsed and couldn't speak or feel her arms after performing during a skating stint on a cruise ship.
"I knew something was wrong the moment I stepped off the ice and tried to hang up my costume," she shared with Metro.
"I couldn’t lift my right arm – I thought that’s funny – then I couldn’t untie my skates or feel my foot. I had no idea what it was and felt like I was having a weird out of body experience. I started banging my hands on the sink to see if I could put life into them. I looked in mirror and didn’t recognise myself – I didn’t know I was Alex."
Due to Alex being young and healthy doctors were baffled as to what caused the stroke.
After lots of tests, medical professionals in Miami discovered she had a condition called patent foramen ovale (PFO), also known as a hole in the heart, which led to a blood clot on her brain.
Dancing on Ice professional Alex Murphy had a stroke at the age of 24
The star, now 32, found out she had a condition called patent foramen ovale (PFO), also known as a hole in the heart, after the stroke
She was then faced with having to decide on whether to give up her skating career forever.
Alex was told she could either take blood thinners for life, but have to hang up her skates as she could risk bleeding out from an accident, or have an operation to repair the heart defect.
She asked to have the operation right away – as she had received an offer to take part in Dancing on Ice in the Netherlands.
The performer went on to win the show, just three months later, after recovering in Florida from her procedure.
Recalling the moment, she told: "I could still skate but interviews were difficult. I would struggle if there was too much noise – the lights and sounds of the show could be difficult. To be honest though, that show had a massive impact on my recovery."
Competing in the series, let alone winning, was a massive achievement seeing as she had to relearn how to talk and write after the stroke.
The performer had to learn how to speak again
Alex won Dancing on Ice in the Netherlands three months after
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She still has the side effects from her stroke – which included her sometimes having to read things over and again and struggling to concentrate.
The dancing personality – whose father also suffered a stroke due to PFO in 2014 – also takes an aspirin a day and told how she has been "ashamed" to share on her stroke when appearing on the English version of Dancing on Ice because she "didn’t want people to know" about her heart problem.
Alex Murphy shared last year that she was devastated after being axed from Dancing on Ice.
She wrote in a statement on Instagram : "It is with a heavy heart that I release the following statement:
"For the last three years, Dancing On Ice has not only been my job, but also what I considered to be my family.
"I am broken hearted to announced that I have recently been informed that I will not be re-contracted for Dancing On Ice 2021 series.
"This decision has come as a huge shock to me. I absolutely love the show and had hoped to go back for 2021. I have been left feeling bewildered, lost, and devastated.
Alex and Joe Swash won Dancing on Ice in 2020 – she was axed from the series after
"I am so grateful for the three years that I had on this incredible show and I will wholeheartedly miss everyone and everything about it.
"Though I am heartbroken, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and although this hurts right now, I will pick myself up and look forward towards the future.
"Thank you so much to all my colleagues at DOI and most importantly the viewers for the constant support and love that you have shown me the last 3 years.
"It was an incredible part of my life and though it is ending sooner than I would have liked, I am so grateful for the memories."
An ITV spokesperson said: "Each series the Dancing On Ice team looks at our existing line up and explores opportunities to potentially introduce some new faces to the skating professional team.
"Alex Murphy will not be appearing in the next series and we wish her all the best for the future."
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