The first hand account of how Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic standout and Duke commitment Zach Harmon suffered a broken neck earlier this season is scary, and probably enough to make most players consider giving up the sport completely. And yet, Harmon can't wait to return to action and continue his career in Durham.
"The doctors are saying that it'd take between six months and a year for me to handle full contact again. When the time comes [to return to action], I won't be nervous at all. If the doctors are confident, then I'm confident. I'll be more excited to get back out there than anything else. I love the game way too much to worry about an injury once I'm cleared."
Harmon, who committed to Duke in May, says he's been in constant contact with the Blue Devil coaches throughout his rehabilitation process, and that his future program has been supportive throughout the last few months.
"They've just told me to take things slow and to listen to the doctors. Right now I'm going back to the doctors on December 2nd to get this brace off. After that I'll be able to workout again. I'm not really sure what the rehab process is going to entail, but I have have to regain muscle strength around my neck."
Though he's been out for the majority of his senior season, Harmon has enjoyed watching his Central Catholic teammates battle on the field. Currently the Irish are unbeaten on the season and into the third round of the playoffs. If things continue to progress, the team's success will force another change in plans for Harmon and Duke.
"I don't' think I'll be able to make the big December recruiting weekend because my high school team could be in the state championship game. And, if Duke makes it to the ACC Championship game, that will be during the December official visit as well."
That Duke could be considered for the ACC Championship game berth is something that Harmon takes great pride in, and something he's been very aware of as the Blue Devils have moved into first place in the ACC's Coastal Division. And, last week, he had a front row seat.
"I was at the game against Miami for an unofficial visit to Duke. I thought the team played with a lot of confidence and looked like they belonged in the top 25. Seeing the team at this level really says a lot. Everything the coaches said about the program is true, and you can see why the coaches are so successful."
Harmon is expecting to enroll at Duke in July with the rest of the teammates, hopefully fully cleared to return to the game he loves. When he steps on the field that first time, he says he'll do so after a long journey that has taught him a number of lessons.
"This experience has taught me not to take things or experiences for granted. I'm very grateful to be in the position I'm in. My injury could have been much worse. At this point I'm just thankful to be walking."
Harmon is considered a three star prospect and the No. 21 ranked offensive center in the country according to Scout.com.