Texas football player who collapsed after game needs open heart surgery

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 7:46 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - On Wednesday, Aug. 31, Zaidyn Ward put on his uniform for the football game that night. It’s his freshman year and he is running back. Ward made the final touchdown, then after the football game, he collapsed.

“He went into the huddle with his coach. The coach was telling him to lift his head up, and he was trying to do that, and once he finally lifted his head like that, he fell back and collapsed,” Zaidyn’s mother Cassandra Combs, said.

Monterey football player, Zaidyn Ward, in uniform.
Monterey football player, Zaidyn Ward, in uniform.(Cassandra Combs)

The 14-year-old’s heart had stopped. Combs says Lacey Steel, an athletics trainer, shocked his heart attempting to revive him.

“The trainer from Monterey saved him, and if she wouldn’t have been out there, Zaidyn would have been dead,” Combs said.

Zaidyn’s heart actually stopped twice. After Steel revived him the second time, he had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital.

“They ran several tests on him...and they had to fly him here, we’re here in Fort Worth, Texas,” Combs said.

Ward had an angiogram procedure at Cook Children’s in Fort Worth on Thursday.

“So, it’s not really good news,” Combs said. “So, their best option that they’re saying is do open heart surgery on him.”

Combs is not sure when doctors will do that surgery.

Combs expected to leave the hospital on Thursday, but it could be another week or two before they go home. And Ward won’t be playing football for awhile, something he’s always loved.

“Sports is his life, that’s what he likes, but if it comes down to it, your heart, I mean your health, comes first,” Combs said.

Combs says Ward is always smiling and very loveable.

Combs is out of work caring for her son while he is getting treatment. She says affording everything can be challenging. If you would like to support his recovery click here.

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