Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

September 13, 2012

Playing days done

Accident brings end to Grossi’s football career

ATHENS — “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Those words opened the Charles Dickens classic, A Tale of Two Cities. Those words could also describe the current situation of Concord University and its football program regarding a recent accident involving starting quarterback Zack Grossi.

The best of times description can be assessed to the fact that Grossi has been released from the hospital and will recover from injuries suffered. The worst of times description can be the fact that the Mountain Lions must play without their leader.

CU head football coach Garin Justice and Dan Grossi, father of the Concord signal caller, addressed the media Thursday afternoon at the Carter Center on the Concord campus and provided updates on Grossi’s condition and the condition of the team.

Justice opened with the following statement: “We’re confirming that Zack Grossi was in a two-vehicle accident on Route 20 between Athens and Princeton. Zack injured his leg with other minor injuries and should live a normal life.

“However, Zack Grossi’s playing days as a Concord Mountain Lion will be complete. Zack was an excellent player on the field for us, but even a better person and leader.

“People should know that Zack had a love for the game and that he loved to compete. He was a great teammate and an even better leader. Moving forward he will be a valuable member of this football team, but in a different role.

“We plan on moving forward as a football team entering conference play. We as coaches preach team to our guys and we have to believe in it from here on out.

“We will miss Zack but we are not quitting on the season. We have a great group of senior leaders who will step up and carry this team. That is what Zack wants for us, to move forward, hand our heads high and prepare to win the rest of our games.”

Justice said Albert Rose will start at quarterback in Saturday’s game against the University of Charleston.

Grossi, a senior, helped lead the Mountain Lions to the WVIAC championship last season and to a 2-1 record so far this season. Saturday’s game against Charleston is Concord’s first conference game of the season.

Grossi’s father, Dan, who works for the National Football League, learned of his son’s auto accident while he was in New Orleans attending  a meeting in preparation for the upcoming Super Bowl in February in that city. He arrived in the area late Monday night and since that time Grossi’s mother Barbara and his sister have joined him.

“It’s been pretty tough,” said Dan Grossi. “I was notified he was in an accident and I work out of town and I worked my way here.

“I want to thank Concord and Coach Justice for sitting with Zack until I got here. They’ve been nothing but supportive.

According to the elder Grossi, Zack suffered injuries, the most devastating a dislocated hip, but he should make a full recovery.

“He sustained some serious injuries. I think in the big picture of things he will be all right, eventually. In consultation with Dr. Branson, our family and Zack, we think it is in his best interest that he won’t play football anymore.

“It’s devastating to him and to us., but we have to look long-term and his health is paramount to our family.

“Our goal now is to make him better and to graduate. He wants to coach. He has a passion for football as we all do, and we’re going to see our best that he reaches that dream.”

Grossi said that his son hopes to attend the Concord-Charleston game on Saturday at Callaghan Stadium in Athens, and that he is starting the rehab process that will allow him to eventually return to the actual classroom, but for now there will be assignments done from his apartment.

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