LUBBOCK, Texas — Just three weeks ago, shared the story of 14-year-old Zaidyn Ward who was rushed to the hospital following Monterey High School’s freshman football game against Abilene Wylie. 

Ward collapsed and had his heart shocked twice, then started having a seizure. An ambulance took him to University Medical Center. Three days later, he was airlifted to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. He was there for just under two weeks, but he is now back at home in Lubbock and said his recovery is going well.

“I’m dealing with it very good,” Ward said. “I’m just calm and it happened for a reason, I guess. God gave me a second chance.”

Ward’s grandma, Judy Combs, said doctors discovered another health issue when they were trying to install his defibrillator.

“They discovered that his lungs had some damage from COVID,” Combs said. “They also discovered that the artery on the left side was smaller than the artery on the right side, and the blood wasn’t flowing through properly.”

The doctors at Cook Children’s had a change of plans. 

“What’s necessary now for him to maintain a life and livelihood is that he’s going to need to have a bypass surgery,” Combs said.

With the defibrillator, Ward would never be able to play sports again, but with open-heart surgery, he has a chance to do what he loves again – play sports.  

“They’re trying to do the best they can to get me back to my everyday life, so they’re gonna do open-heart surgery,” Ward said. “I have the chance to have six months of recovery and I’ll be back to sports.”

While he waits for an official surgery date back at Cook Children’s, he wears a cardiac vest to protect him, but Combs said the surgery must happen soon.

“Right now, this is a life or death situation for Zaidyn,” Combs said.

Monterey’s homecoming program sales will benefit Ward’s surgery.

Ward hopes to have open-heart surgery within the next month back at Cook Children’s. He is going to return to school starting with just two hours per day and increasing over time. He said he’s been missing school, but is excited to go support his teammates at Monterey’s homecoming game Friday, Sept. 16 against Midland High School. Monterey’s homecoming program sales will benefit Ward’s surgery.

If you would like to help out with Zaidyn’s medical expenses, you can donate to his GoFundMe page.