About Zach

Little love for the Bro

I am 21 years old, and live in sunny Southern California with my Mom, Dad and brother Hayden.  After a year at St Norbert College in De Pere, WI, I decided to return to So Cal and pursue my education and football closer to home at Chapman University. It makes better sense to have my support resources closer while I am in college, so I can be successful. Plus the upper mid west was really cold.

I graduated from JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano in June 2019.  My last year was a repeat for me as I lost my junior year to the brain tumor surgeries and complications, so instead of graduating in 2018, I graduated in 2019. I grew up like many So Cal kids and played baseball, basketball, flag football and Pop Warner football.

College and High school has kept me busy and here’s a few things I am working on and what I have accomplished:

  • I have two opportunities once the pandemic settles down and I complete training. First is as a Peer Mentor with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, and second, is as an Ambassador with the Make a Wish Foundation. Both organizations are near and dear to my heart.
  • Scout Player of the week, St Norbert College Football, October 2019
  • Jim Valentine Courage Award from Orange County Youth Sports Foundation, May 2019
  • CIF Spirit of Sport Award, Southern Section, Fall 2018
  • JSerra Rugby Clubman Award, 2018/19 season
  • Inaugural Zach Round Courage Award – created by JSerra Football Program, 2018
  • JSerra Rugby Spirit Award 2017/18
  • Gillian Marie Sabet Memorial Scholarship- 2017/18
  • JV Lineman of the Year, 2016
  • JSerra Varsity Football – 3 years Varsity Letterman
  • JSerra Rugby 2 years Varsity Letterman
  • JSerra Freshmen Football 2014
  • JSerra Freshmen Baseball 2014
  • JSerra Service Club – Live For Others Foundation
  • JSerra Social Clubs
    • Fellowship of Lion Athletes (FLA)
    • JSerra Faith Formation – Tuesday Night Youth Group (TNL)

Snow Summit Wall Ride

In addition to organized sports, I have a passion for mountain biking.  Prior to my tumor and complications, I spent most of my off-time riding with my buddies Iain, Zach, Edward and my brother Hayden in Laguna, Aliso Woods, San Clemente and the Santa Ana Mountains.  I also made many trips to Big Bear and rode a ton at the Snow Summit bike park.  My ultimate is to get back to the level of riding I had before. One of the most fun I recently had riding was going to St George, UT and ride with my dad and his buddy Barry.

Gooseberry Mesa with my dad

In August of 2019, I headed to St Norbert College in De Pere, WI to study Physics, Math and Computer Science.  I also be played football for the St Norbert Green Knights and was voted Scout Player of the Week on October 2019. Due to the pandemic and the distance from home, I decided to leave St Norbert and move closer to home to pursue my education and football at Chapman University.  I’ve also changed my major to Communications so I get a good foundation of knowledge to help with my career goals of becoming a pediatric brain cancer patient advocate working with charities, and motivational speaker.

My immediate plan is to continue on my rehab and working out to get ready to play football in the fall hopefully at Chapman University.  I have a lot of work to do, but I am focused on being able to play.  I am blessed to have played at JSerra High School in the Trinity League which is the most competitive league in the nation. My experience at JSerra and being coached by Pat Harlow has prepared me for the opportunity to continue to play.

After my last brain surgery the right side of my face was paralyzed and we have come to the conclusion that facial nerve reconstruction is the best option for full face movement. With that, we found the best doctor – Dr. Babak Azizzadeh – to perform this procedure, which is very specialized and extremely costly.

In December, I had my second facial reconstruction surgery to repair my face and fix my right eye (it doesn’t close all the way).  The surgery was two-parts, so two surgeries – one last December 2019 to harvest a nerve from my leg and implant it in my face, and then this last surgery in December 2020, the doctor connected the harvested nerve to the nerve branches on the paralyzed side of my face so the right side will now be controlled by the nerves in the left side of my face.

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