MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Twenty days ago, Zach Zarembinski was in a coma. Friday, he was at home. The Hill-Murray senior collapsed during a football game on Oct. 27 and was diagnosed with a massive brain bleed.
Now, he and his family are talking about what happened.
“Positive thoughts. We never thought negative,” said Zach’s dad, Dan.
Surrounded by a team that included his parents, sister, coach and doctor, football player Zach Zarembinski now wears a different kind of helmet — one that protects a part of his skull that had to be removed.
“It’s just unbelievable and I’m just grateful for all the support I’ve gotten and all the people that have been there for me,” Zach said.
“It’s been totally amazing. It’s been a miracle to see where he was at to where he is at now,” Dan said.
Less than three weeks ago, Zach suffered massive bleeding in his brain and was in a coma for days. Doctors at Regions Hospital still can’t say for sure what triggered it, but they believe Zach’s life was saved thanks to the quick thinking of coaches, first responders and physicians.
“Sitting at the table, talking with this young man, I would say he’s going to do very well,” said Dr. David Dries of Regions Hospital.
Coach Pete Bercich said the entire team reacted like a family.
“When we were finally able to talk, he was Zach again. He was the same kid I was able to coach for 3 years. That part of him. That essence that makes him who he is still there,” Bercich said.
Zach has a lot of physical therapy ahead of him, and doctors have said he won’t play football again, but he loves sports and he already has the go-ahead to throw shotput on the track team this spring.
Zach’s family is hoping his story doesn’t deter parents from putting kids in sports. Zach’s parents believe the team and family approach helped them get through a difficult time.
“Just how all the schools came together, colleges, public and private and grade schools. It’s just heart-warming,” said Zach’s mom, Tracy.
The Zarembinksi family wanted to thank all the first responders, as well as everyone who has reached out, including Zach’s teammates.
The Hill-Murray football team held a bake sale and will be holding a volleyball tournament to raise money for Zach’s medical expenses.