The top story of 2012 is a story of faith, hope and community. Nothing captured and held the attention of Southeast Arkansas in 2012 like Zack Towers, the Star City High School football player who collapsed on the football field during the Star City Bulldogs November 1, game against the Crossett Eagles.
Towers was immediately rushed to a hospital and underwent brain surgery to stop bleeding. He has been in a coma for two months but returned home during the Christmas holidays where he appears to be improving, according to a Facebook page created to keep supporters updated on Towers’ progress:
“Zack is doing good at home these days. He is moving more and more and is more expressive now. He smiles alot more these days and can also let you know if he is unhappy with something. A couple of nights ago I leaned down and whispered to him that I was better than him in a xbox game that he is 10 times better than me in. He smiled the biggest smile immediately. The family is totally taking care of him at home now and it is pretty busy these days. So please continue to pray for us. Zack and I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! From home with Zack….Gods Got This!!!”
While Towers is showing signs of improvement he is still in a coma, according to a December 31 tweet on the Pray for Zack Twitter page:
“Zack is doing well back at home.. He hasnt woke up yet though. Thanks for the continued prayers & support!”
On November 2, Star City residents gathered for a candlelight vigil on the big blue star at Bulldog stadium where Towers collapsed the night before. Earlier that day, the Star City student body joined hands to pray for their classmate, teammate and friend, while citizens across the state and beyond began rallying in support of the young man.
A week later, prior to the Star City and Heber Springs playoff game, players, cheerleaders and fans for both teams released 500 balloons in support of Towers. When other Southeast Arkansas football teams took the field in the first round of the playoffs, players showed their support by wearing Towers’ No. 16 on their helmets.
His hometown rallied again on December 1 with a benefit run and walk-a-thon at Cane Creek State Park. The event was hosted by the Star City High School Cross Country Team, Star City High School EAST Lab, Cane Creek State Park and sponsored by Star City businesses Los Toritos, Piggly Wiggly and Bank of Star City.
Home Depot in Little Rock and and S&S Home Improvement in Jacksonville teamed up in December to install a wheelchair ramp at Towers’ home when they learned that he would soon be released from the hospital. Home Depot donated the materials and S&S Home Improvement donated the labor to construct the ramp.
But the support for Towers goes beyond Arkansas. Since his collapse, supporters from all over the world — all 50 states and at least 15 other countries — have rallied in support of the linebacker. The “Prayer for Zack Towers” Facebook page has nearly 22,000 “likes” and the Twitter page has more than 3,200 followers.