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Former Steelers DE Banaszak recovering

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Former Steelers defensive end John Banaszak is expected to recover after suffering a hemorrhage on the surface of his brain, doctors at Allegheny General Hospital said Friday.

Banaszak, 58, fell ill Wednesday afternoon, when he complained of neck pain and headaches, said his oldest son, Jay Banaszak. He initially was taken to Washington Hospital and later transferred to AGH, where he's expected to remain for a week to 10 days.

"The expectation is that he'll get better," Dr. Khaled Aziz, an AGH neurosurgeon, said yesterday during a news briefing at the North Side hospital.

Banaszak, a member of three Steelers' Super Bowl championship teams, was awake and alert yesterday morning. Preliminary tests have ruled out an aneurysm, which doctors initially suspected.

The type of bleed Banaszak suffered is called a nonaneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, Aziz said. It isn't uncommon in people who take aspirin, a blood-thinner.

Banaszak, who played for the Steelers from 1975-81 and now works as an assistant football coach at Robert Morris, has a history of neck pain.

His wife, son and two daughters were with him at the hospital. He's been overwhelmed by messages of support and well-wishes from the Pittsburgh community, including former Steelers teammates, said the son, Jay Banaszak, 35.

"There's a lot of love in the family," he said. "It's a pretty big, tight-knit family."

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