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Greenport basketball coach says he’s ‘overwhelmed’ by support as he recovers from stroke

Ev Corwin said coronavirus hasn’t been at the forefront of his mind lately. There’s a perfectly understandable reason for that. He has been dealing with a more pressing issue.

Last month Mr. Corwin, 48, of Greenport suffered a stroke that had paralyzed the right side of his body. The Greenport High School boys basketball coach is now home, recovering, continuing physical therapy and planning to return to his team when practices start in November.

“I tell you what, it was some ordeal, man,” Mr. Corwin told The Suffolk Times in a 30-minute phone interview Tuesday.

Mr. Corwin, a Southold Town Highway Department employee, woke up March 17 feeling as if he had a “dead” right arm from sleeping on it. His right leg had a similar lack of sensation, he said.

“I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or not,” he said. “When I woke up, I had paralysis that [went] in and out, in and out. It was my right side. It was a very weird feeling.”

At Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital, Mr. Corwin underwent testing that didn’t indicate he had suffered a stroke. He was sent home.

That night he suffered a stroke.

Mr. Corwin was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he remained a week before being transferred to St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson. It was at St. Charles where Mr. Corwin began the arduous physical therapy, about eight days after the stroke. Like a computer that had lost its connections, Mr. Corwin’s brain and muscles needed to resynchronize.

“They’re basically teaching you how to walk again,” he said. “They say it’s like riding a bike. It’s really not like that. They have to, number one, get all your muscles to fire again. It’s your quad. It’s your hamstring. It’s your calves. Everything.”

The good news was the prospect for recovery. Mr. Corwin said, “When they tell you, ‘You have a good chance with a lot of hard work to get back 99 percent,’ then that for me is enough.”

Because of coronavirus-related restrictions, no visitors were allowed at the hospitals. “I didn’t get to see my family or friends or anybody for over a month and a couple of weeks because nobody was allowed in,” Mr. Corwin said. “That was really one of the toughest parts, but FaceTime and things like that, it helped a little, but I think I kind of had to turn a switch and focus on getting better. That kind of helped me.”

A big day for Mr. Corwin, who spent two weeks in a wheelchair, came when he was told he was going to be given a cane to help him walk.

An even better day was Friday, when his wife, Melissa, and their son, also named Ev, and daughter, Lilly, picked him up from the hospital and drove him home.

A surprise was in store for Mr. Corwin on Saturday. Friends and well-wishers lined up cars on Moores Lane in Greenport before heading to the Corwin home on Brown Street for a drive-by welcome home.

“I didn’t really know that that was happening,” Mr. Corwin said. “They actually tried to keep me on the front porch, I wasn’t sure why. Then all of a sudden I heard some beeping coming from around the corner.”

Mr. Corwin estimated that about 55 cars passed his house, beeping their horns. “I was sitting there,” he said. “The only word I could say is overwhelmed. I was just so, you know, thankful. It’s very emotional, to be honest with you, because the outpouring of so many people was just amazing.”

Mr. Corwin said the support he has received has been “overwhelming.” Told he has many friends, he said: “You don’t know how many you have until something like this,” he said. “I’ve been overwhelmed with all the well-wishers and prayers. And, honestly, it’s not just Greenport, either, it’s the whole North Fork. It helps you along. It makes you feel great.”

Speaking of the scariest episode he’s ever been through, Mr. Corwin said: “I’m still a long ways from the end, but I’m actually able to get up and I’m probably at about 50 percent right now, I’d say, but I’m slowly but surely getting a little bit back in everything, my arms and my legs. I’m working hard at my physical therapy and I’m going to come all the way back.”