Randy Travis and His Wife Open Up About His Battle With Aphasia

by Matthew Wilson

It’s been a long road to recovery for Randy Travis. Eight years later, the country singer still feels the effects of a stroke that almost cost him his life.

Country music just hasn’t been the same since. Recently in an interview as part of a fundraiser, Travis and his wife Mary opened up about his battle with Aphasia. It’s a condition many stroke users face, affecting their ability to form sentences. Travis spent five and half months in the hospital after his stroke. He’s spent the next eight years trying tor recover his speech.

One of the most surprising things the couple faced is most people don’t know what Aphasia is despite the disorder being common.

“When we went to the first rehab hospital was when we first heard Aphasia—[a] term that people are not familiar with until they have to cross that road,” Mary Travis said. “They’re not familiar with it until it touches someone they know and love. 85 percent of people in America don’t know what Aphasia is or even heard of it—that being interesting because it’s more common than Parkinson’s, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, yet people aren’t familiar with it. There are 800,000 strokes a year, and up to a third to 40 percent of those people are left with the Aphasia.”

Watch Randy and his wife speaking around the 10-minute mark:

Randy Travis and His Road to Recovery

It’s been a long and difficult road to recovery for the couple. Randy Travis is still affected by his stroke. But he’s learned to sing again, an exciting development for the country star. In 2016, Travis performed “Amazing Grace” at the Country Music Hall of Fame for his induction.

The part that was affected, that was the dictation, the proper annunciation, and then the thought process,” Mary Travis said. “But it’s not the soul.”

In the years since, Travis has made random appearances, performing alongside other artists. For country music fans, Travis and his music have been a treat. But for the country star, these performances have been a way to regain a sense of normalcy. Often people with Aphasia will regain the ability to sing faster than their normal conversational voice.

“Environment and stimulation. As far as just going out and living your life, that’s when things start coming back to you. That’s when words start showing up because the best therapy is living. The best therapy is getting out there and doing what you enjoy. Music,” Mary Travis said.

Randy Travis still has a way to go but he’s takiong each day at a time.

“We’re eight years out now. It will be eight years in July. And there’s still every day a new word, or two words put together,” Mary Travis said. “Those are the exciting things.”