Sports Person of the Week - Jack Zelezinski

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 9:35 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - January 1, 2022 is the day McNeese right tackle Jack Zelezinski’s world was turned upside down. After noticing a lump in his neck he went to get it checked out and it wasn’t the news he was expecting.

“We found out that it was an enflamed lymph node, and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on January 1st,” Zelezinski said. “In the beginning it was a little hard. Wouldn’t say I was angry just confused with God just why me but then I started to tell myself that it was for a reason, and he has a plan.”

It was a hard diagnosis for Zelezinski and his family to bear. His father Martin says its something a parent never wants to hear.

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare,” said Zelezinski. “You get older in life and accept the things that life deals with you as an older adult, but to have a 21 going on 22-year-old diagnosed with cancer it’s a shock.”

Wasting no time, Jack endured four months of chemotherapy and 15 radiation treatments. It was a long process, but he was determined to come out on top.

“What really helped out was just me being positive. Me saying that it’s nothing to worry about I’ll be fine I can do this, and it helped out my mom and my dad a lot.”

With determination and motivation from his father, Zelezinski shifted his focus to pushing through instead of dwelling on the diagnosis.

“I said ok let’s just regroup move forward and not focus on why me or whatever let’s just focus on getting through this let’s focus on getting through this together and just push forward,” Zelezinski said.

To help get his mind off everything he endured, Zelezinksi took his attention from football to the swimming pool.

I have been swimming since a very young age and I feel like when I’m in the pool I don’t think about anything besides swimming and that really helped,” said Zelezinski.

On June 23rd all the pushing forward paid off. Jack is now in remission and is focused on getting back to football.

“After getting through something like that I just feel like you can do anything you put your mind too and I feel like it’s kind of like a reset for my football career,” Zelezinski said. “I haven’t really been able to be a part of the team too much just going back and forth and I feel like this is my second chance.”

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