Nov. 14, 2013
IRVING, Texas--The National Football Foundation (NFF) announced today that it will present an NFF Inspiration Award to Colorado State freshman offensive lineman Zack Golditch for his courage and resiliency in returning to the football field after being among those wounded during the July 20, 2012 Aurora theater shooting outside Denver, Colo. Golditch will be honored during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
"Zack Golditch's experiences provide great insights into the meaning of being part of a football team and the tenacity learned on the gridiron," said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. "His determination to return to the field and be with his teammates sends a powerful message about the sense of community created by the sport. His attitude in response to this terrible tragedy serves as an inspiration to us all, and we applaud his fortitude to get back up and continue to play the game."
Golditch, a senior at Gateway High School at the time, received an injury to the neck with the bullet coming less than an inch from paralyzing or possibly killing him. Released from the hospital the next day, Golditch went straight to practice. Despite his inability to participate, he wanted to show solidarity with his teammates.
"It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the National Football Foundation," Golditch said. "I am grateful and humbled that I can be seen an inspiration to others. It is especially meaningful because of the role that the game of football has played in my life. The bond I had with my Gateway teammates and now with my football family at Colorado State, has given me a lot of strength to persevere through that ordeal. The mentality and discipline of playing football helped me in my recovery. There are many people who share in receiving this award with me."
Following a full recovery, Golditch returned to the field, producing an award-winning senior year. A three-year starter on both the offensive and defensive lines, Golditch helped Gateway advance to the state playoffs each season. As a senior, he blocked for an offense that rushed for 43 touchdowns while recording 62 tackles on defense. He also had 11 sacks for a defense that allowed only eight points per game. He earned All-League honors on both sides of the ball in 2012 and made the All-State team. Named to the All-Colorado Defensive Line, he also earned 2012 East Metro Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Graduating with a 3.64 weighted GPA, Golditch made the Gateway honor roll for five semesters, and he participated as a member of the Student Council. He earned the 2012 Touching Hearts Through Athletics Award, which is given to a student-athlete who demonstrates being a team player, accepting academic responsibility and sportsmanship on and off the field. In the community, he has volunteered at youth camps and as a mentor at Causins Elementary School. This past spring the NFF Colorado Chapter honored Zach among its 2013 class of scholar-athletes.
"The courage, toughness and determination Zack has shown has been well-documented," McElwain said. "He has a bright future not just on the football field, but in life, and we're happy to have him as a member of our family here at Colorado State."
Golditch enrolled at CSU in the summer of 2013 and is redshirting this year in his first season as a member of the Rams football program.
The Rams, 5-5 (3-2 in Mountain West games) under head coach Jim McElwain, play New Mexico Saturday at 5 p.m. MT in Albuquerque, N.M. The game will be televised by ROOT Sports.
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