The stress and anxiety of preparing for finals and pursuing those straight A’s is as much a part of the “college experience” as watching college football is. With all of these negatives, a freshman at Morningside College named Zed Heimensen added the biggest negative of them all to the pile, one that would change everything.
He is a 19-year-old Morningside College freshman from Rock Rapids, IA, who from the start “always had a football in his arms” paired with the dream to play college football. This would eventually come true, but little did he know, one tackle in his 3nd college football game would ruin those dreams forever.
This brown haired, bad haircut guy stands tall at 6’2 and always has a smile on his face. When he is not hanging out in the training room or on the football field, he is in his dingy dorm studying – as he would say a “STUDENT athlete”.
While speaking to Zed in his dingy dorm room of his college residence hall, wearing his “usual” Nike sweatpants and Morningside football sweatshirt, he told me about how he is making this negative – a positive.
In his 3rd college football game, they headed an 1 hour 24 minutes to Midland University.
With 1 touchdown and several catches on the game, the game was about to end. With 10 minutes left, Zed jumped up to catch a pass and on the way down he hyperextended his knee. Then with his knee in a vulnerable position, he was hit by the defender.
A torn ACL, LCL, lateral hamstring, and a partial PCL tear later… his football dreams were over.
“It could always be worse” are his famous words. Throughout this crazy process, he learned to “not take things for granted, because not being able to walk for 8 weeks on your own puts things into perspective.”
Not ever having surgery before he was just trying to stay hopeful and hope for the best. Since surgery he has continued to stay positive working through rehab and life in general.
While trying to hold back tears, Zed said his advice to other athletes is to “not take anything for granted because you never know when your last play will happen.”
His ending words as I walked out the door were “a destroyed knee doesn’t mean you’re a destroyed person.”