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Thursday
Dec062012

Sen. Kirk to Return to Congress Nearly a Year After Stroke

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For the first time since suffering a stroke in late January, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., will return to Capitol Hill on Jan. 3, a spokesperson for the Senate confirms to ABC News.

That date marks the first day of the new Congress and the spokesperson says the senator “remains on track” to be there when the Senate convenes for the 113th Congress.

In late January doctors discovered a carotid artery dissection in the right side of Kirk’s neck, revealing he had suffered an ischemic stroke. The senator underwent surgery to relieve swelling around his brain stemming from the stroke, but doctors cautioned it would be a long recovery ahead and Kirk has not been back to Washington since.

Kirk’s office has been active in sending out updates, photos and video of his recovery over the past year.

In late April, Kirk’s office released the first photograph of the senator in the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, noting that he “remains fully engaged in all aspects of his rehabilitation program,” and they are “quite pleased” with his recovery.

In May his office released a video showing footage of his post-stoke rehabilitation and said he “can’t wait to go back to work,” and is working on being able to walk the steps of the U.S. Senate.

“I’m walking again,” Kirk says in the video produced at the rehabilitation center in Chicago in May, “leading to my hope to climb the 45 steps that my staff counted from the parking lot to the Senate front door to fight for the people of Illinois.”

In November Kirk climbed Chicago’s Willis Tower during a fundraiser, a symbolic step in his recovery.

Kirk,  53, served in the House, then in 2010 won the Senate seat formerly occupied by Barack Obama.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio