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Bobby Wagner Launches FAST54 To Support Stroke Care & Education

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner announced the launch of his new FAST54 comic book, in partnership with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, to promote stroke care and education.


Early in his NFL career, Bobby Wagner wasn't all that comfortable talking about his life off the field.

Wagner's mother, Phenia Mae, died three years before he was drafted by the Seahawks in 2012, the result of a stroke suffered when he was a freshman at Utah State. A private person by nature, Wagner for the most part didn't speak publicly about his family during his first few years in Seattle. Over time, however, people who did know Wagner's story came to him for advice or support when a loved one had a stroke. And as Wagner's platform continued to grow with each All-Pro season, he realized that his family's story could help others.

"It took time for me," Wagner said. "It happened when I was in college, so I didn't really talk about it much, especially my first few years in the league. But then as I started talking about it, I started having people come to me like, 'Oh , my pops or my grandfather or my mom or my grandma had a stroke too. People asked me for advice, and I was like, maybe there's more people out there I can help than just the people that I'm around."

With that in mind, Wagner teamed up with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health on the Phenia Mae Fund, which raises money to ensure that stroke patients have equipment needed to aid in their rehabilitation, and now Wagner and VMFH have partnered again for the launch of FAST54, a multimedia comic, staring Wagner himself, to provide education about stroke prevention in an entertaining way.


"What the comic shows is that you don't have to be a superhero to save a life," Wagner said. "My brother is somebody who saved a life, prolonged a life. He just made a call and followed his instincts. We're trying to give people more tools for when something like this happens so their instincts take over."

F.A.S.T., an acronym to help recognize signs of a stroke (face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties, time to call 911), is at the center of the story in the comic, which Wagner and VMFH hope can reach new audiences to reinforce life-saving F.A.S.T steps.

"Back then when it happened to my mom, I don't think there was as much education around strokes," Wagner said. "And even now as I've gotten older, I've seen more people experience strokes, be it family members or celebrities, and it's something that's not necessarily talked about enough. It's something that can be prevented, to an extent, if the proper steps are taken to prevent it."

"We are honored that Bobby reached out to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health to help support this important cause," said Ketul J. Patel, CEO of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. "Our highly skilled Stroke Center teams provide exceptional, lifesaving care, and we are proud of their work every day. We are excited to team up with Bobby, the Seahawks and the VMFH Foundation to help raise awareness and philanthropic funds to support stroke education and care in our community."

Wagner said he was inspired toget the message out via comic book by the recent animated Spider-Man movies, "Into the Spider-Verse" and "Across the Spider-Verse," with the idea being that a comic book will be relatable to all generations. Wagner's younger brother, Robert, was only 14 when he found their mother following her stroke, and at the time didn't know what was happening to her.

"I wanted to do something fun, because it relates to everybody, from older generations to younger generations," Wagner said. "Like my brother, he was super young when he found my mom. I'm pretty sure he didn't know what was going on, he just reacted. He's the one who found her, he was younger than I was. Creating a comic book is a fun way to interact with a lot of people from different generations."

FAST54 is only the latest way Wagner has made a difference in the community as he continues to build a Hall of Fame resume on and off the field. And much like his on-field success, the work he is doing off the field is motivated by the example set by Phenia Mae.

"She and my dad were my number one supporters growing up," Wagner said. "She pushed me and made me believe that what I was dreaming about was possible. She believed in me before I believed in myself. So I just want to, A. fulfill that purpose, and B. be an extension of her, because I know she would have helped if she could." 

In addition to a physical comic book, FAST54 is also available as a digital comic, and there is a video version voiced by Wagner available at

Wagner, the Seahawks and VMFH will distribute 10,800 copies of the comic book throughout the region through community engagement programs. Fans can also pick up a free copy in the following locations:

2,500 comic books will be distributed to ticket holders pregame in Touchdown City at Lumen Field at the Seahawks vs. Panthers game on September 24, 2023

1,000 comic books will be available to fans at the Seahawks Pro Shops in both Renton and at Lumen Field (500 at each location) in honor of National Comic Book Day (one per customer, no purchase required) on Monday, September 25, 2023

2,500 comic books will also be distributed at Touchdown City before the Seahawks vs. Browns game on October 29, 2023 in recognition of World Stroke Day.

Check out photos of Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner from throughout his ten seasons in Seattle.

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