By Josh Watson
With only three games into his junior year football season, linebacker Zach Mann found himself laying in a hospital bed fighting for his leg. He had contracted MRSa, a severe life-threatening form of STAF, on his foot. The infection had gotten into his blood stream and bones and was threatening to spread throughout his body.
The infection sent him to the hospital where he went through tests and many different medicines to try and fight the infection. The infection had eaten all of the tissue on the inside of his foot and he had a golf-ball-sized abscess removed from his foot.
After spending three weeks in the hospital, he had a pic-line put in for an antibiotic to fight the infection. He was sent home where he was told to do nothing but sit, eat, and sleep.
“I became more and more restless every day,” Mann said about having to sit at home, “it was killing me mentally.”
He had to do three sessions of antibiotics a day through his pic-line, which took two hours a session. This totaled to six hours a day for over a month. Along with that, he had to go to the wound-care clinic every day for three weeks. The wound-care clinic nurse had to pack and unpack the hole in his foot on a daily bases, which was a painful experience.
“Getting my foot cleaned out every day was probably the worst pain I have ever experienced,” Mann said.
Finally, in December the infection had been cleared and the pic-line was taken out. Although the battle for his leg was over, he had a new battle to fight; returning to the football field. This infection caused him to miss over half of last football season and almost four months of working out.
After Christmas break, his doctors cleared him to return to school and begin working out. He had lost almost 30 pounds in those three months of being sick and not being able to move. This caused him to feel weak and discouraged.
He felt as though he had taken many steps back.
“It felt like I was starting from square one, straight out of high school, I was so weak,” said Mann.
As soon as he was cleared though, he began getting back in the weight room and gaining his strength back. It was not a quick process as he had to overcome mental barriers as well as the physical barriers.
With time and perseverance, his strength slowly returned. Not even six months ago, Zach Mann was lying in the hospital bed fighting for his leg. Now football’s Spring Practice is underway, and he is not only practicing with the team, but has regained his starting linebacker position.
He is very blessed for the way things turned out.
“I would not wish what I had to go through on anyone, but now that I have been through it, I can say it has made me stronger mentally and physically and I am a better person because of it,” Mann said.