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Lucas feels more alive after brush with death

April 25, 2013|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

Zach Lucas will celebrate his 19th birthday today.

It’s a birthday that he hopes will be one of many, many more in his life — a life he nearly lost.

A freshman at Salisbury University and a former baseball star at Williamsport High School, Lucas never expected to experience his own brush with death at such a young age.

Lucas and his teammates were at the pitcher’s mound shaking hands with Virginia Wesleyan players following their season opener on Feb. 12.

Suddenly, Lucas dropped to the ground and lost consciousness.

The Salisbury training staff rushed to Lucas, using CPR and an automatic external deliberator (AED) that revived Lucas before the paramedics arrived on the scene.

His heart had stopped beating for one minute. It was not until he was in the ambulance that he regained consciousness.

“I felt fine heading out to the mound,” Lucas said. “When I woke up in the ambulance, I didn’t believe what they told me had happened. I thought maybe I just passed out.

“You never think twice at my age that something like this would happen to you. I thought I was healthy.”

Lucas lived through the good and bad at Williamsport last year with the death of teammate Brendon Colliflower and later winning the Maryland Class 2A state championship where he pitched 10 scoreless innings in two games.

“(Brendon’s) death hit hard, but this hit harder for me,” Lucas said. “You thought about the recent problems at Williamsport. I didn’t believe this had happened.”

Lucas had a defibrillator implanted during a stay in the Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, then made visits to Johns Hopkins and MedStar facilities and underwent corrective surgery on Feb. 19.

Lucas said he’s felt fine ever since that day and no specific reason has been determined for his collapse, though since getting to Salisbury, he has lost about 30 pounds from his 5-foot-9, 190-pound frame through a weight training program.

“The (doctors) can only think that supplements might have been the cause,” Lucas said.

Lucas will be on hand Saturday at Williamsport High School for the Wildcats’ alumni baseball game. He’ll be relegated to cheering on his Salisbury teammates the rest of this season, but is looking forward to a return to action next season.

Lucas said he will play this summer for the Funkstown American Legion team.

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