Teen trumpet player overcomes stroke to succeed

A Pasadena teenager has overcome a potentially lethal condition that struck him during band practices, and has inspired many in his school.

For 18-year-old Jorge Alcocer, playing the trumpet is something he thought he would never be able to do again.

"When I picked up my trumpet I could barely blow it. I could barely move my fingers," said Alcocer.

Last year, while in band class, and out of nowhere, Alcocer said the band hall started spinning.

"I wasn't in control of it. My head just started to spin spin spin, and I said well it's probably normal because I feel tired and fatigued," said Alcocer.

The band director, Jeff Embrey, noticed something was wrong with Alcocer.

"I noticed that he had switched hands, not playing with his right hand more, but playing with his left hand he was kind of leaning over," said Embrey.

What Embrey didn't know in that moment, Alcocer was having a stroke.

"I guess I felt weaker from my right side. My entire right side was like why can't I move my fingers like I used to?" said Alcocer.

Alcocer was rushed to the hospital. Doctors performed many tests, and confirmed he was having a stroke. During his months of recovery, he wasn't able to play his beloved trumpet. Alcocer said he fell into a deep depression.

"I just wanted to die. I just did not want to live anymore. I didn't see a purpose to live anymore," said Alcocer.

"It saddened me to know that he could get to that point," said Embrey.

What helped Alcocer out of the darkness was the light of his friendships and teachers. And soon, the feeling came back to his fingers, and he said the music began to heal him.

"I believe music can bring people out of all stages," said Embrey.

Alcocer's fast fingers took him to the state competition, and just weeks ago, with a brace still on his right leg, he was able to walk the stage for graduation. Alcocer reminding us, it's not what happens to you, it's how you take it on.

"Don't ever give up. That's one of the main things. If you give up you lose everything," said Alcocer.

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