When he was 13 years old, Zackery Lystedt almost died from a brain hemorrhage. Zack was a young athlete who played on his junior high school football team - and was a gifted athlete. Just like the millions of kids who play sports, especially competitive contact sports like soccer, hockey, and football, Zack was competitive, and loved playing the game. An average teenager in many ways, he is an avid supporter of the Seattle Seahawks, he loves music (especially Eminem) and his favorite food is Alaska King Crab (Mickool 1). But ever since he suffered a concussion during a football game, his life has been drastically different than most teenager's.
Zack was a talented football player who played on both offense and defense. Late in the first half of a weekly football game, Zack hit his head on the ground while tackling his opponent. A video of Zack showed him rolling on the ground - it was obvious that he was in pain. He was taken out of the game. But three short plays later, Zack was put back in the game. He shook off his injury and stayed in to play the rest of the 2nd half. According to his father, Victor Lystedt, "He [Zack] always wanted to be part of the play." (CDC 1). However, wanting to be "part of the play" caused consequences that changed Zack's life forever. After the game, Zack collapsed on the field. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital to undergo a life-saving procedure that removed both sides of his skull to stop the build-up of pressure from his swelling brain. Although suffering a concussion in the first place is damaging enough to the brain, staying in the football game after enduring a concussion caused the damage done to his brain to worsen and become amplified over the course of the game. Consequently, over the next few months, Zack "experienced numerous strokes, seven days on a ventilator, and three months in a coma" all because he stayed in the football game and attempted to "shake it off" (CDC 1).