On Jan. 16, 2017, Zach Round was out for a mountain bike ride when he tried to jump a road and missed. In an odd twist of fate, the crash may have saved his life.
After the accident, which was captured on his GoPro camera, Round was airlifted to the hospital. It was there that a routine CAT scan to check for internal injuries revealed that the JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) sophomore had a golf ball-sized brain tumor.
“My initial reaction was, ‘Am I going to die?” Round told Los Angeles’ KABC-TV recently. “My second thought was, ‘Will I still be normal?'”
Some level of normalcy returned recently, when Round surprised teammates with his return to the football field.
Round is listed on the JSerra Catholic roster as a 6-foot-1, 255-pound offensive guard and defensive tackle.
“To see him now, you wouldn’t even imagine what he’s gone through,” his mother, Lynette Round, told KABC.
Round had 13 surgeries, as KABC reports. He has battled bacterial meningitis, kidney stones and other infections on his way to recovery. At this time last year, Round was re-learning how to walk. He also has had to re-learn how to tie his shoes.
“I tried every day,” Zach Round said. “I went from a wheelchair, then my physical therapist had me using a walker.”
Round still does several hours of physical therapy per week in hopes of someday regaining full coordination on his right side. He is entering his senior year at JSerra, although he has some classes to make up for his time missed.
“There’s still a lot of recovery to go on, but if he’s progressing like he is and continues to do that I still think he has a chance,” said Pat Harlow, JSerra’s head football coach who is a former NFL offensive lineman with the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders.
Round is enjoying activities outside of football as well, including rugby and, yes, mountain biking. Here’s hoping his recovery continues.
“Stick through it – work hard and you’ll make it out,” Round told KABC. “Don’t worry.”