Pre-Severe Brain Injury: Zach Part Four
One of the things that makes Zach’s story compelling is the portrait of such a young and dynamic man pre-severe brain injury – baseball star, homecoming queen, party animal. He had much to lose and came close to losing it all. While I enjoyed the below segments of our interview, I would highly recommend the reader who finds Zach’s story compelling, to read Zach’s book, as Zach’s own writing is clearly better on these points, than our interview. In his introduction, he truly does capture the vibrancy of his life pre-severe brain injury.
I’m going to go back now. I want to talk about who you were pre-severe brain injury. So you are17 years old, you’re in high school. Tell me about yourself pre-severe brain injury.
I tried to be friends with everybody so I was, I guess pretty popular. I had a very pretty girlfriend and I had a real good family. I was always really religious even though I don’t like, I don’t try to force my religion on anyone. What I believe is what I believe. I was just voted captain of the football team, and I would become captain of the baseball team.
You played baseball. What was your position?
Talk to me about playing baseball before you got hurt.
I love baseball. Baseball was awesome. Just going down to the cage and going hitting is one of the things I miss the most. That was just so much fun and it was, it was just great. Like even now when the snow starts melting and stuff, I’m like oh, yeah baseball season. I’m like: “Oh, I don’t play baseball anymore.” So it, it’s kind of sad. I probably could play baseball, but I’ll never play at the level that I once could so to me it’s like, what could of been.
So before you got hurt you had dream to get a Division 1 scholarship?
Had you actually been contacted by colleges?
I was going to a showcase at Northeastern, had some dialogue with the coach, so that would of been my No. 1 choice, but yeah.
You also played football.
What was your position in football?
I played cornerback, and wide receiver.
So you were a speed guy?
How fast were you?
How fast? I ran, uh, 4.5 on 40.
That was pre-severe brain injury?
I did that, that was before.
So you had college football speed?
Yeah, but I was, I was kind of, I was kind of small. I was a small guy, fairly.
How tall are you?
I was 5‑8, yeah cause now I’m 5‑8½, yeah 5‑8.
What did you weigh pre-severe brain injury?
At the time I got hurt I weighed 147, and then after my coma I was 121. I lost a lot of weight.
So you were clearly more capable of playing college sports in baseball than football because of your size?
Just, yeah my size. I was pretty good at football, but, what I tell people is – baseball is something you love. You either love it or you don’t.
Did you play summer ball pre-severe brain injury?
I played, uh, for American Legion. I played as a sophomore.
How’d you do in that summer?
I did, really well. That was probably the best summer of my life, . I just had so much fun and just playing baseball with a bunch a college kids and stuff. It was just a great, I was only a sophomore in high school, so that was a, that was awesome.
Did you get to play regularly?
I did, but I was only a sophomore, like I said, so they had to let all the older kids play more than me, but I did play. I played a decent amount, yeah.
Remember your batting average from that summer?
From that summer, no. I never got the stats on that summer, but, the season leading up to it about a .321 so.