High school football player collapsed after game, needs open heart surgery

Texas high school football player Zaidyn Ward was hospitalized after collapsing after a game.
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 1:51 PM EDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD/Gray News) – Freshman running back Zaidyn Ward made the final touchdown during his high school’s football game before collapsing on the field.

“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. Once he finally lifted his head like that, he fell back and collapsed,” Zaidyn’s mother Cassandra Combs told KCBD.

The 14-year-old’s heart had stopped.

Combs said an athletic trainer shocked his heart 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 he was revived a second time, the teen had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital.

Combs said doctors ran several tests on her son and ultimately flew him to a children’s hospital in Fort Worth for an angiogram procedure.

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

Combs is not sure when doctors will do that surgery.

They expected to leave the hospital on Thursday, but it could be another week or two before they go home.

Zaidyn won’t be playing football for a while, which is a sport he’s always loved.

“Sports are 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 is out of work caring for her son while he is getting treatment. She said affording everything can be challenging, so a GoFundMe has been set up to help with expenses.