When someone has a stroke they need medical help quickly, because every second matters.

"I felt a bump in the back of my leg that I thought was a muscle cramp and really didn't pay much attention to it," said stroke victim Joe Jackson.

But the next day it was worse, so 65-year-old Joe Jackson and his wife went to the hospital.

"When the doctor came in to do an X-ray, they put me in a wheelchair. And as soon as I grabbed toward the wheelchair my arm fell completely down," Jackson said.

He knew immediately that he had a stroke.

"Some strokes can happen very quickly and a lot of damage can happen early on and can be within minutes," said Dr. Christopher Topel, University Hospital neurologist and fellow at the UT Health Science Center.

University Hospital is the first Joint Commission Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in South Texas, and the only one with a board-certified team of neurocritical care physicians providing 24/7 coverage.

"The only good thing about having a stroke at a hospital is that it's the perfect place for them to administer the drugs," Jackson said.

Doctors recommend everyone be familiar with the FAST system.

"A FAST is a rapid and easy way to help screen for stroke symptoms and recognize that so people are brought to the hospital in a timely manner," Dr. Topel said.

"F" stands for face.

"A lot of times people will have a drooping on one side of the face, and they may have some trouble moving their tongue as well," Dr. Topel noted.

"A" stands for arm weakness or arm numbness, which is what happened to Jackson.

"S" is for slurred speech or difficulty speaking.

"T" is for time.

"It's important that they call 911 and have patients brought to the emergency department immediately," Dr. Topel said.

"I live in Bandera," Jackson noted. "If I was in Bandera and I drove back drove here, I may have had a completely different story."

On Thursday, there will be a giant inflatable brain in the lobby of University Hospital to explain how the human brain works and what happens when a stroke occurs. They will also have staff members available to answer questions and teach people how to assess their risk for stroke with an online risk calculator, from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m

The event is free to the public at University Hospital located at 4502 Medical Drive.

Take a look at what the exhibit looks like here: http://www.interactiveexhibits.com/ameribrain/