Fall 2021 SS Magazine

NEW PODCAST: Pat and Tammy McLeod, Harvard University Chaplains

THIS IS EPISODE 329 OF THE SPORTS SPECTRUM PODCAST

Life hit Harvard team chaplains Pat and Tammy McLeod hard when their son, Zach, collapsed on a high school football field — he had sustained a severe brain injury. Two emergency surgeries later, Zach began waking up. Slowly the entire family woke up to the reality that life would never again be the same. The fallout of his injury would reshape Pat and Tammy’s marriage, their family, their future and their faith in ways they never saw coming.

What would it take for them to navigate the endless fallout of their son’s life-transforming injury? How could they reconcile their grief over the life Zach lost, with gratitude for the life that remained? And how does a couple move forward together in its search for hope, rather than letting indefinable loss drive them apart?

Their book, “Hit Hard,” releases Tuesday and is the true story of the McLeods’ journey through ambiguous loss — both having and not having their son. It’s the story of a family that faced unexpected heartbreak, a story that offers us all glimpses of how we can pick up the pieces, redefine expectations, and find hope in the midst of unresolved pain.

On this podcast, we hear Zach McLeod’s story, learn from Pat and Tammy about ambiguous loss, why they wanted to tell Zach’s story, what it is like to grieve the loss of their son when he’s still alive, and safety on the football field in 2019.

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