MMA Fighter Fights For Recovery

May 28th, 2009 by admin

mmafight

OMAHA, Neb. — A 20-year-old man was paralyzed Saturday night in Shenandoah, Iowa, after breaking his neck in a mixed martial arts fight.

Now, Zach Kirk and his family are engaged in another fight, one that will play out in hospital rooms and physical therapy centers as the family hopes for a miraculous recovery.

Doctors have operated on the injured vertebrae in his neck but they don’t know if he’ll walk again.

“Pretty much I observed my heart being broken, seeing him like that,” said Kirk’s mother, Diana Kirk.

With two fights under his belt, Kirk’s goal was to become a professional fighter in a sport that has, justifiably or not, garnered a brutal reputation. But fighters said the sport is no more dangerous than other contact sports. Kirk agrees, and so does his mother. They don’t blame the sport for what happened to him.

“It’s a real safe sport,” Kirk said. “You just got to watch what you’re doing.”

His mother said accidents happen “at any time and any place.”

The family shared the video of the fight with KETV NewsWatch 7.

Kirk is seen on the left in red shorts. The fight begins and Kirk initiates action with a right jab at his opponent. The two get tangled. Kirk was using a double-leg takedown to slam his opponent on the mat. The opponent went into a defensive position and ended up landing on Kirk’s head. His neck breaks.

“You can see as soon as he hit, he was lifeless, just a limp body,” said Kirk’s trainer, Adam Miller.

The opponent was unaware of Kirk’s immobility and kept fighting. The referee realized the situation and intervened. In seven seconds, Kirk’s life had changed dramatically.

“I knew I couldn’t feel nothing,” Kirk said from his hospital bed. “I was just scared — scared from right there.”

The family said Kirk has no medical insurance. Fellow fighters and friends have begun organizing a benefit to help defray costs. For more information, visit TormentMMA.com.

Kirk’s mother is hopeful, and she said she’s holding out hope for his recovery.

“It’s just going to be a long road ahead,” Diana Kirk said. “There’s going to be a lot of physical therapy to go through, but we’ll make it. We’ll do it.”


Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment. You are free to voice your opinion but please keep it clean. Any comments using profanity will be rejected.