In December 2015, Zac Easter, a twenty-four-year-old from small-town Iowa, decided to take his own life rather than continue his losing battle against the traumatic brain injuries he had sustained as a no-holds-barred high school football player.
For this deeply reported and powerfully moving true story, award-winning writer Reid Forgrave was given access to Zac’s own diaries and was able to speak with Zac’s family, friends, and coaches. He explores Zac’s tight-knit, football-obsessed Midwestern community; he interviews leading brain scientists, psychologists, and sports historians; and he takes a deep dive into the triumphs and sins of the sports entertainment industry.
Forgrave shows us how football mirrors America, from the fighting spirit the game has helped inscribe in our national character to the side effects of the traditional notions of manhood that it affirms. But above all, Love, Zac is a warning to parents and those entrusted with the care of our kids not to ignore concussions and warning signs of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). For parents struggling to decide whether to allow their kids to play football, this eye-opening, heart-wrenching, and ultimately inspiring story may be one of the most important books they will read.
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Love, Zac in the News:
PEOPLE Magazine: "Disease Caused by Concussions Led to Football Player’s Suicide: 'He Wanted Us to Tell His Story'" (September 10, 2020)
The Guardian: "Depression, memory loss and mood swings: Football's toll on one man's promising life" (September 9, 2020)
CBS Sports Radio: “Author Reid Forgrave Discusses New Book, Love, Zac" (September 8, 2020)
Star Tribune (MN): "Book excerpt: In death, difficulties of a football life are revealed." (September 7, 2020)
Sports Illustrated: "'Is This Worth It?' Football, a Suicide and a Path Forward" (Sept. 2, 2020)
Des Moines Register (IA): “Iowa family continues work on concussion awareness as book comes out about son's death” (Aug. 7, 2020)