The picture went black for Jordan Zumwalt.
When the former Edison High standout saw the blurriness become clear all he could see was blood. The hardest hit didn't come on the field two months ago. The huge blow for the UCLA inside linebacker happened on the street while he was on his scooter.
"It was pretty serious," Zumwalt said Saturday after the Bruins lost to Stanford, 35-17, at the Rose Bowl. "I was messed up. I had about 150 stitches. I had to miss a game. It was pretty severe. I was pretty grateful to come out of that. When I came to that day [Sept. 23], I saw a lot of blood."
Scooters can be a preference for many in Los Angeles to beat traffic and save on gas money. Zumwalt was riding his scooter to his apartment. On the way he was struck by a car.
Zumwalt was wearing a helmet, but not one that covered his face. He said he went through an intersection. There was a car turning left in front of him and he crashed into her car. He said it was a humbling experience to collide into the car.
It was also a near-death experience and he remains grateful to have survived, he said. He said it provided him with more motivation to excel.
His junior season with the Bruins has been memorable, full of highlights and challenges like the one he received in the form of a scooter accident.
The season continues with a championship game on Friday. On the same day his alma mater will be playing for a championship.
UCLA will play at Stanford for the Pac-12 championship, at 5 p.m. Top-seeded Edison plays against No. 3 Villa Park for the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division title at Angel Stadium of Anaheim at 7:30 p.m.
Zumwalt hopes the Bruins bounce back from their loss to the Cardinal and that Chargers will deliver Coach Dave White's first CIF title as a coach.
"I think they are going to do it," Zumwalt said of the Chargers. "Our team couldn't do it [in 2009 against Servite for the Pac-5 title] and Coach White's son's team couldn't do it [in 2006 against Orange Lutheran for the Pac-5 championship with Hunter White]. I really hope they can do it. I think they will."
Zumwalt said his cousin, Dylan Luther, will be a contributor to Edison's quest for the title on Friday.
Zumwalt also plans to do his part for UCLA (9-3) against Stanford (10-2). He has had a strong season for the Bruins and a reason why UCLA has enjoyed a breakout-type, winning season.
"Jordan had to fight through the gash he had [above his left eye from the scooter accident]," UCLA Coach Jim Mora said. "He's played some outside [linebacker] and he's played some inside. It looks like he's more comfortable inside. He's very versatile … He comes to practice every day and works hard. He tries to get better. He's a good kid."
At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds and with his versatility Zumwalt can be confident of playing in the NFL. This season, he has contributed with 44 total tackles, 35 solo. He also has recorded two sacks, one forced fumble and a blocked kick.
One of Zumwalt's best games came at Arizona State Oct. 27, when he had a season-high 10 tackles, two of them for losses as UCLA won, 45-43.
"We've just been out there having a blast and playing hard," Zumwalt said of the Bruins' season. "We're all happy so far, but it's not over. I'll have to let you know more after the season."
Zumwalt is very familiar with Stanford, a team that UCLA has not beaten while he's been with the Bruins. Zumwalt verbally committed to Stanford as a senior at Edison, but then shifted his commitment to UCLA.
Does Zumwalt ever think about what might've been if he went to Stanford?
"Not once," he said. "Since I jumped ship from there I haven't look back. There hasn't been any moment that I wondered what it would be like to be over there. Not once."
Zumwalt said he becomes more motivated when UCLA plays against Stanford. His emotions and effort will be at an all-time high because it will be for the Pac-12 championship.
"I haven't beaten them since I've been over here," he said. "[Some of the Stanford players] tease me and tell me, 'JZ, you screwed up and you made the wrong choice.' But we'll see."
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