LUBBOCK, Texas — On Aug 31, freshman running back Zaidyn Ward scored the final touchdown in Monterey High School’s 45-8 victory over Abilene Wylie.

After the game, Monterey’s coach called a team huddle. Ward was feeling dizzy, and the coach told him to lift his head up.

When he lifted his head up, they said that he just collapsed back, like he fell back,” said Zaidyn’s mother, Cassandra Combs. “And he passed out.” 

Combs said an athletic trainer gave the 14-year-old CPR and shocked his heart, but his heart had stopped. The trainer then shocked him a second time and he was revived but began having a seizure.

He was driven in an ambulance over to University Medical Center where they began running numerous tests. One of them was a positive test for COVID-19.

You’re having to deal with them having to shock you because your heart stops twice and they shock you twice,” Combs said. “Then on top of dealing with that, you just had a seizure, and then on top of the COVID stuff, all of this is triggering to your heart.”

Three days later, Ward was flighted to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. Combs said doctors are still running tests, but they will most likely implant a defibrillator into his chest. In the past, Combs said Ward had suffered at least five seizures when he was younger, but he never had to have his heart shocked prior to this incident.

Combs said sports are a huge part of Ward’s life. But with this defibrillator, the doctor said he will not be able to compete. 

“He said, as far as football for you, or any sports for you, that for the rest of your life, it’s over with,” Combs said. “So if anything happens to where he gets hit right there, that could damage that machine, and then that’s his life.”

Cameron Ward is Zaidyn’s 19-year-old brother. Combs said he’s been in the room with Zaidyn since the incident on Wednesday.

“He hasn’t left Zaidyn’s side,” Combs said. “He said he’s not going anywhere until he knows his brother is okay.”

At this time, Combs said Ward is in good spirits.

Zaidyn is a fighter,” Combs said. “He’s still weak, but he pushes through. He’s not going to show it. He’s tired, but he’s still gonna be smiling.”

If you would like to help out with Zaidyn’s medical expenses, you can donate to his GoFundMe page.


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