A football player donated plasma to afford school and pay the bills. Now, he no longer has to do it; thanks to a teammate who gave up his scholarship for him.
Zach Conti has been juggling multiple jobs for four years so he could go to school. To get by and pay the bills, he had to sell his plasma, something he wouldn’t have to do if he had a scholarship.
Unfortunately, Eastern Michigan University could not give any more scholarships, according to the coach of the university’s football team, Chris Creighton.
“We’re at 85 scholarships,” Creighton shared. “And no matter how many times or how many years I go to the NCAA and say, ‘Man, we need 86, and is there any way that we can have an exception to this deal,’ the answer is no.”
Luckily, a kind-hearted teammate had a plan to help Conti. Zack Conti is like a family member for Brian Dooley so he was willing to give up his scholarship and give it to Conti.
Creighton said he had never seen anything like that before and he was surprised when Dooley came to his office and told him about his plan.
Dooley said to him that Conti had earned it and he had discussed the plan with his family and they agreed to it.
In a viral video, Conti and Dooley hugged each other after the announcement while their team cheered for them. Dooley believed that Conti earned the scholarship and explained why he did not think twice about giving him his scholarship.
“I did it because I’ve seen Conti grow over the years. Seeing him walk away from something that he loves did not sit well with me,” he said. “He works hard and gets extra work with me all the time.”
“He works hard and gets extra work with me all the time. In my eyes, he earned it 100%. Giving up my scholarship so he can stay and play means everything. I’m proud of what he has become and cannot wait to see what he does on the field.”
Dooley said he would do it again in a heartbeat and he hopes to help Conti some more along the way.
The football player donated plasma not only to support his studies but to also help his mother, who needs a transplant for her polycystic kidney disease.
He would earn $50 to $100 each session, which helped him continue his schooling and pay for their bills.
“Sometimes asking for help’s not easy. The team would usually see me coming back from work or going to work and they would know what was going on, and they were supportive. It wasn’t really hard to be open to them about anything,” Conti said. “They got my back.”
“Football is something I really love, so ever since I got to school, I’ve had to do whatever it takes to stay here and stay in a good position with academics and football and everything,” Conti added.
His love for football made him work a landscaping job, ripping out carpets and demoing tile floors. He did it when he did not have school or when he was not playing football.
“It’s been a grind my whole life but, I mean, when you really want something, it’s like you do what you need to do to keep it going,” said Conti.
When the scholarship was presented to him, Conti said he felt like all his hard work was finally paying off. He was so thankful for Dooley for his kindness and generosity though he did not expect such a big sacrifice from him.
Nevertheless, this experience is something they won’t forget and will surely make their friendship even more potent.
Watch how Conti’s team surprised him in the video below: