Teen returns to the football field after discovery of undetected brain tumor

July 9, 2018 12:16 pm Last Updated: July 9, 2018 12:16 pm

Zach Round, 18, is an active high schooler who spends his days hanging out with friends and playing football. He and a few pals went mountain biking in January 2017 in California when he missed his jump.

Round landed on his head and crumpled to the ground. Despite his insistence that he was fine—believing at the time that he’d be able to walk away from the incident—he was airlifted to the hospital.

Doctors at the hospital performed a scan of Round’s brain.

We sent it for the orange chicken #turkeybreak2k16 #tssr

A post shared by Zach Round (@zachround) on

While at the hospital, Round and his family received some news they weren’t expecting. While looking over his CT scan, doctors had found something troubling and urgent.

Round had a large tumor growing on his brain stem which had previously gone undetected. If it weren’t for his fall, doctors may not have become aware of it until much later.

“Well, my initial reaction was ‘am I going to die? Because I don’t want to die yet. I still have a long life ahead of me.’ So that was my main concern,” Round said to InsideEdition.

“And my other main concern was, when they’re done with this operation, am I going to be the same?”

Round underwent successful surgery, but still had a long road ahead of him.

Visit from Sean McGrath and Sean Culkin made recovery a little easier

A post shared by Zach Round (@zachround) on

With the tumor successfully removed from Round’s brainstem, he began the difficult process of healing. For the following year, Round battled meningitis, kidney stones, and a number of other infections.

He also had to relearn how to do a number of everyday tasks which he’d taken for granted. The teen said that learning how to walk again was the most difficult.

“It was a lot of hard work. I worked on it like, four or five hours everyday,” Round said. “I hated sitting around and watching everybody else work hard. I wanted to work hard myself.”

Because of his willingness and desire throughout his rehabilitation, Round made tremendous progress. And while doctors say he still has a ways to go before he recovers all of his range of motion, Round is taking things one step at a time.

Round was finally able to return to the field with his high school football team.

He needed a total of 13 surgeries while on the road to recovery. He’s remained positive throughout, encouraging others to embrace the unexpected.

“My immediate plan is to continue on my rehab and get ready for the 2018 football season.  I have a lot of work to do, but I am focused on being able to play,” Round said on his website, TumorWarrior67.com.

Round, who also plays rugby, hopes to get a degree in engineering and continue his athletic pursuits at the collegiate level. With the level of dedication he has shown in his recovery, there is little doubt he’s capable of achieving whatever he desires.