Reza Zadeh, 25, is making up for lost time right now. His scariest moment on the football field resulted in a year of memory rehabilitation, ending his days as a walk-on linebacker for the CSU Rams, and delaying his academic career.
Zadeh played football through college and suffered five concussions. The sixth one turned out to be a devastating injury. He was blocking another player during an afternoon practice. The two went helmet-to-helmet and the intense smash left Reza unconscious. He was carried off the field for the last time and was diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome, which severely affected his memory.
After his injury, Zadeh’s school performance declined dramatically. He walked in 2000 in Health and Exercise Science but has since decided to retake the classes that he scored poorly in, because his previous grades were not characteristic of him and were a result of his damaged memory.
Zadeh was born in Iran and moved to Oklahoma when he was 5-years-old. They lived in a small town where bad feelings were directed towards them because they were Iranian. His family moved away shortly after his uncle lost his life to the Ku Klux Klan. They settled in Southern California where Zadeh spent the remainder of his childhood. He decided to attend CSU to play football.
“I loved seeing the crowd, feeling the excitement and the pumping adrenaline. There was green everywhere,” Zadeh said.
Zadeh’s concussion did not affect his love for the game. He still recalls memories on the football field as some of the most exhilarating moments of his college career.
Zadeh is not only completing undergraduate classes from his past, but he is also the Academic Coordinator and student coach for the football team.
His favorite weekend activities include hanging out with friends, playing video games and being involved with his church.
Zadeh would love to live in Colorado for the rest of his life and be on staff with Athletes in Action and Campus Crusades. His goal is to live a happy life.
“I don’t care about making money, big houses and cars,” he said, “I have a heart for helping people.”