ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - A Hill-Murray School football player is in a medically induced coma after collapsing on the sidelines during Saturday’s playoff game against St. Paul’s Johnson Senior High School.
Senior defensive player Zach Zarembinski came off the field after a punt. He went to the bench and reported feeling dizzy, according to St. Paul Fire Deputy Chief Dave Berger said. He then collapsed and started having seizures.
“Zach was coming off the field after a punt,” Ethan Wright, one of Zach’s teammates, said.
EMTs immediately responded to the field and the 18-year-old was rushed to the hospital. He was reportedly treated for a brain bleed and rushed into surgery. As of Monday morning, he remains in critical condition.
"It wasn’t after a hit, he just came off the field [and] said he had a headache,” Pete Bercich, Hill-Murray’s head coach, said. “Our trainers were on the spot, and within four minutes he had a seizure.”
Jordan Wright was watching his brother, Ethan, play when it all happened.
“You could hear the trainers yelling, ‘Is anyone a doctor?’” he said. “People yelling ‘Call 911!’”
Ethan said the team played the rest of the game for Zach, but Hill-Murray ultimately lost.
“We just started playing for him that’s it,” Ethan said. “We just started thinking about him because it’s his final game as a senior.”
But, Ethan said it did not feel like enough just to play for him. The Wright brothers wanted to do more.
“Ethan was so devastated and he approached me later that night and we were thinking of ways, bounced back, of ways we could help out,” Jordan said. “We knew that there were going to be expenses along the way. Just decided to start a GoFundMe.”
The GoFundMe has raised more than $10,000 in less than 24 hours.
“Football is a team game and the guys they know each other and they’re friends on a different level,” Coach Bercich said. “You could see the love they have for each other and their teammates all throughout that process.”
An email from Hill-Murray to students said counselors and campus ministers will be available all day Monday and the chapel will be open for prayer and reflection.