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Steeler Owner Art Rooney Suffers Stroke and Is in Critical Condition

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Associated Press

Art Rooney, the chairman and founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was in critical condition with a paralyzed upper right arm Thursday after suffering a stroke, his doctor said.

Rooney, 87, who has a pacemaker, has heart problems that were complicating the stroke.

“We’ve had to give him medication to take care of his heart, and this is also producing problems with swelling that covers up some of the symptoms of the stroke,” Theodore R. Gelet, Rooney’s physician, said at a news conference.

Rooney’s sons Dan, who is team president, and Art Jr. were among those at his bedside, hospital spokeswoman Mary Donnelly said.

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Rooney was unable to speak because he was connected to a respirator to help him breathe. He apparently recognized his sons and responded to them by squeezing their hands or blinking his eyes, Gelet said.

Rooney experienced dizziness, then difficulty speaking Wednesday at the Steelers’ offices at Three Rivers Stadium, Gelet said. Shortly after that, Rooney suffered a stroke.

Rooney, who founded the National Football League’s fifth-oldest franchise in 1933, was admitted to Mercy Hospital in stable condition. He soon regained his speech and was in “full charge of his mental faculties,” Gelet said.

Thursday morning, however, he began having difficulty breathing. He was moved to the intensive care unit in critical condition.

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