Football Player Downey’s Mother Gives Update on His Condition

Photo Courtesy of Micah Hunter: Downey #8, Hunter #4

Photo Courtesy of Micah Hunter: Downey #8, Hunter #4

Sean Browne, Editor in Chief

Pace football player Zach Downey had a common cold on Oct. 3, but that cold turned out to be a pneumonia that has him fighting for his life.

“It’s literally like minute-to-minute and day-to-day,” said Alanna Scheri Morcaldi, Downey’s mother.

Downey initially got the cold living in the Townhouses; his roommates passed the cold and it was something that he had dealt with for two weeks.

Downey was still able to play despite the cold as he did not feel as though his illness was a big deal.

“He was able to play in the Bentley game on Oct.  1,” Morcaldi said. “He really just had a sniffle and he’s never had any other health concerns.”

That following Monday, Downey’s temperature rose to 104 degrees. He knew that he could not take his illness lightly anymore.

“Zach went to the hospital around 2 AM and he was diagnosed with pneumonia,” Morcaldi said. “He was sent home with a prescription, but his condition worsened and he went back to the hospital because the pneumonia got worse.”

At this point Morcaldi was still assured that Downey was going to be fine.

Morcaldi was shocked to find out that Downey was going to be moved to the intensive care unit because he was having a difficult time breathing on his own.

“Within a 24-hour period, it went from being a cold to being a severe case of pneumonia where he could not even breathe on his own,” Morcaldi said.

Downey had to be transferred to Colombian Presbyterian Hospital because he went into critical state on Oct. 11. He was then put on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation to help his breathing.

Since then, Downey has made progress, but is still dealing with setbacks in his breathing because of a hole in his lungs.

“He is making huge progress in terms of his recovery,” Morcaldi said. “He will have a good day where he takes two steps forward, but the next day might be a step back because the hole in the lungs is causing a complication in terms of him breathing.”

In recent weeks, Downey has also been in communication with his mother. While he cannot speak because his use of a ventilator, he has been writing notes to her explaining his condition.

Football Head Coach Andrew Rondeau has been visiting on a regular basis, according to Morcaldi.

Downey’s teammates have also been showing their support by wearing shirts of him before their games, as well as showing their support of social media.

Football tight end Prince Unaegbu tweeted “Please keep my brother @z_downey8 in your prayers he’s going through something no one should go through but he’s fighting love you brother.”

This experience has also be equally tough on Morcaldi. She’s has spent the last five weeks at the hospital, but still remains optimistic that Downey’s condition will improve and that he will walk out of the hospital.