Aurora shooting survivor hopes for late NFL draft pick

Colorado State Zack Golditch sings the fight song near the student section after a September 2016 win in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Getty Images)
Colorado State Zack Golditch sings the fight song near the student section after a September 2016 win in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Getty Images)

Zack Golditch is a survivor of the terrifying 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. He was shot in the neck during a showing of “The Dark Knight Returns,” one of 70 injured on a night when 12 people were killed.

And now, per a fascinating article in USA Today, Golditch is trying to add another chapter to his life: NFL rookie.

“[W]hat I hold on to right now is a story, not just about myself, but about … everyone else. I can carry that and represent them through what I do and how I carry myself,” Golditch told USA Today’s Lindsay Jones. “I have to embrace it.”

Golditch was in a theater adjacent to the one where a gunman opened fire during a midnight showing of the movie. He was hit in the neck by a bullet that came through the wall, but the bullet managed to miss major arteries or his spine. Golditch was released from the hospital after seven hours, and during vigils afterward, he reaffirmed his commitment to making his mark via football.

Golditch attended Colorado State University, where he played offensive line, and won or was nominated for several awards based on both his play and his character. He graduated in December, the first member of his family to do so, and he’s spent the last few months training for the NFL and meeting with scouts. (One, apparently unaware of Golditch’s history, asked him about a time he faced adversity in his life.)

“I hope when teams watch my film they see a guy who’s a competitor, someone who is not afraid and won’t back down from a challenge,” he said. “Doesn’t matter if you’re bigger than me or better than me, I’m going to come back every single play and give my best effort and try to be better the next play.”

A hand injury kept Golditch from several major workouts, which hampered his draft stock. NFL Draft Scout ranks him 40th among 86 offensive tackles. He may need to wait till free agency to latch on with a team, but there’s no doubting what he could bring to a roster.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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