Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

February 13, 2014

A survivor’s tale

PikeView’s Meadows beats obstacles

BLUEFIELD — Zach Meadows is a survivor.

As hard as the 6’6 PikeView High School senior battles on the hardwood, he has battled and at present conquered a life-threatening condition. Last week in five games Meadows scored 107 points, grabbed 55 rebounds and was 22-of-30 from the free throw line to earn Pocahontas Coal Association/Bluefield Daily Telegraph Player of the Week honors.

At age 7 Meadows began to have medical troubles and it was revealed that he had a brain tumor. After receiving treatment and a couple of surgeries at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Va., the tumor kept recurring and additional surgery was recommended. According to Meadows, his mother, Salina decided against such measures and sought the advice of another physician who was willing to take over Zach’s case.

“I went to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.,” Meadows said. “I had to stay down there for two-and-a-half months. I went through radiation then came back home, started having some more trouble and went downhill from that.”

Meadows said he eventually went back to St. Jude’s for surgery, flown there with the assistance of Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation.

“I have been tumor free for about five years now and I have to have yearly checkups,” Meadows said. “After 10 years I will be considered tumor free. I do want to go back and have research done to help other patients.”

Lindsey Jones, head coach at PikeView said, “It’s amazing when he was a little boy, I heard rumors about the fact he was sick. It was in the community about how bad he really was. It’s just a testament to him that he has been able to overcome that and is able to run up and down the floor and do the things that he does do.”

Meadows’ recovery has allowed him to play basketball and baseball at PikeView High School.  Last week he had a game with 19 rebounds against Independence and scored 25 points in contests against both Summers County and Bluefield. He talked about playing five games in six days.

“It took a toll toward the end of the week, but all of us knew we had to push through it,” Meadows said. “It really wasn’t that hard because we haven’t been playing a lot of games.”

Most players prefer one end of the court over the other and for Meadows, he likes the offensive part of the game.

“I like having a challenge, having someone try and stop me. It definitely helps when your teammates get you the ball and they let you go at it and they believe in you to score,” Meadows said.

Jones said, “He just had a really good week, really worked hard to do what we were trying to do and that was getting him in the paint and rebounding. He just really dominated the boards and when you’re dominating rebounds, it kind of leads to points because those offensive rebounds have points attached to them.”

Last year PikeView finished second in its section and advanced to regional play. Meadows thinks that this year’s team is better.

“I feel like we have improved a lot from last year. We’re starting to get the flow of each other and starting to get better as a team,” Meadows said. “The key is probably for us to just play hard and make sure everybody is on the same path and make sure we don’t underestimate anybody and keep our confidence up and don’t get cocky or anything.”

Meadows is joined on the Panthers’ by his younger brother Seth, who is the point guard and his youngest brother, Peyton, is a sixth grader at PikeView Middle School. He credits his parents, Tucker and Salina with being his biggest inspiration and supporters.

“They both stay on my pretty good...” Meadows commented. “I’ve got the best parents I could ever ask for.”

With baseball season just around the corner, Meadows talked about which sport is closer to his heart.

Meadows said, “A lot of people say I’m better at basketball, but I really love baseball. I’d love to play college ball, either one.”

The PikeView senior further commented on goodwill and generosity directed toward him.

“I would like to thank my family and friends for all the support they’ve given me, being there for me,” Meadows said. “I have to thank my doctor at St. Jude’s because I don’t know where I would be without him, and Christy, she’s a scheduling nurse there. I just thank my family, my parents, everybody around the community helping me... they really get me through things.”

— Contact Bob Redd at bredd@bdtonline.com.

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