Former Champion standout overcomes health scare to return to the field


Current Notre Dame College softball standout McKenzie Zigmont overcame a stroke before her sophomore season

(WKBN) – Nearly three years ago to the day, then-senior McKenzie Zigmont helped lead Champion’s softball team to its second state championship in her career.

“We never really thought we were gonna be state champions,” Zigmont said. “We just went out and did what we did.”

Following her high school career, Zigmont did keep playing. Her career continued at Notre Dame College in the Cleveland area.

But between her freshman and sophomore seasons, a blood clot in her brain caused a stroke. It left her with double-vision and other health complications.

“I thought softball ended for me there and that was a very emotional time for me then,” Zigmont explained.

But two days before her sophomore campaign, she received some good news. Zigmont was completely cleared to return to the field. It provided her an important lesson learned from the health scare.

“Not to take anything for granted because you never know what life is gonna bring you,” she said. “I was a healthy 19-year-old one day and then I had a stroke the next day. It taught me to live in the moment and not worry about too much and just do things that make you happy.”

What makes the 21-year-old happy is passing the game she loves onto others. Zigmont now serves as a softball instructor and coach for area youth teams.

“Since I’ve been on very different teams at different levels, with many different coaches, I feel like I have a good grasp of the concept of the game and how to adjust to players, and not just teach it by the book,” she explained. “Everyone’s different. Everyone is gonna learn things different and play different. I think that’s really important to make sure the girls know.”

Following the pandemic, Zigmont is eagerly awaiting her chance to play again. She wants to leave far more than just winning as her legacy.

“I think just as someone kinda has been through the game, been through the struggles of the game, and just keep going. I just want to be known as the person that someone can look up to and be like, ‘Oh, she kept going. I can keep going,'” Zigmont said.

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