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Meet the Author @ Franklin Junior High

October 6, 2021
6:30 pm

Reid Forgrave | Love, Zac: Small Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy

Zac Easter could be your neighbor, your classmate, your son.

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.   He was able to speak with Zac’s family, friends, and coaches. He explored Zac’s tight-knit, football-obsessed Midwestern community.  He interviewed leading brain scientists, psychologists, and sports historians. Finally, he took 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.

About the Author



Reid Forgrave has written about sports and other topics for GQ, the New York Times Magazine, and Mother Jones, among other publications. His specialty is long-form, narrative storytelling. He has covered college football and the NFL, as well as college and professional basketball and the Summer Olympics, for Fox Sports and CBS Sports, and he currently writes for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. The article in which he first wrote about Zac Easter is included in Best American Sports Writing 2018. A past life found him working at The Des Moines Register in Iowa as well as several other metropolitan newspapers. Forgrave lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two sons.

Reid will be joined by Dr. Shawn Spooner, a sports medicine physician and veteran of the U.S. Navy, who  has unparalleled experience in concussion rehabilitation and treatment.

Dr. Spooner received his BS from Iowa State University and his medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine. He completed a Family Medicine Residency at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in California where he was Chief Resident. He subsequently completed a Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.

After completing training, Dr. Spooner was deployed to South Korea where he served as Senior Medical Officer and Officer in Charge of a naval health care facility. Dr. Spooner’s extensive experience in concussion management stems from his deployment to Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan where he served as Senior Medical Officer of the Concussion Restoration Care Center, a rehabilitation center for treating combat-related concussions and injuries. In addition, he practiced operational military and sports medicine with the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and U.S. Army Special Forces.

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