"First of all, we would like to thank everyone for the thousands of texts, emails, and phone calls of support over the last few days. It has certainly been a tough time for Zack and our family.
In the last two months, Zack has suffered two concussions. Since the first incident he has been under the care of two excellent doctors, James Michael Ray at the National Training Center in Clermont and Sam Slobounov of Penn State University, one the nation’s foremost experts on concussions. He has undergone countless tests, MRI’s, CTI’s, cat scans, etc. to make sure he was ready to play safely.
As has been documented, with each concussion, the brain is more susceptible to future concussions. For Zack to fully recover from this latest injury will take time. We do not have a timetable for his return, but we fully trust in the medical care and opinions of Dr. Ray and Dr. Slobonouv. Zack saw them today, underwent several tests, and performed surprisingly well. He has suffered no permanent damage and his physicians expect a full recovery. It will take time for Zack to heal completely and not be susceptible to further concussions, and we will make sure that he has that time to recover and pursue his dreams.
I spoke with Bo Pelini, the head football coach at the University of Nebraska this morning. He told me that if Zack plays again this year, if he doesn’t play this year, or if he never plays football again, they want him as a Cornhusker. This type of integrity and loyalty is why Zack chose Nebraska as his college destination, and we are very thankful to Coach Pelini and his staff for their support of my son not just as a football player, but as a young man.
This is a difficult time for Zack and our family. Many tears have been shed and many prayers said, not only for healing, but for wisdom and comfort. Zack has been our emotional and spiritual leader, both on and off the field. Now God has a new role for him, and although it is hard to not be out there running the Blue Darter offense, he has embraced his new role as a motivator, mentor, and coach as he heals and gets ready for the future.
As a father, I am so proud of him for the love he has for his teammates, the toughness and resilience he has shown in battling adversity, and his steadfast belief that God’s plan for him is an amazing one, even though it is normal to question that in a tough time like this. Zack’s health and future are our top priority, and although we’d all love to have him leading us on the field, it is far more important that he moves on to college and with God’s grace in time becomes the leader of his own family and whatever group God uses him to lead.
Thank you for your concern and understanding. Our family is truly thankful that Zack is going to be fine, and for the support and encouragement of so many. Although we are sad now, we know that God has a great plan for Zack and we look forward to watching it unfold."
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