Hours after Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller suffered a gruesome injury during a game against the New Orleans Saints, doctors have desperately tried to save his left leg.
On October 29, Miller appeared to catch a pass from rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the end zone during the third quarter of the game. He hauled in a one-handed catch — which was later overturned — but laid on the ground afterward in obvious pain.
The replay shows his gruesome injury. As he jumped to catch the pass and planted his left leg, his knee buckled and folded the wrong direction. Watch a video of the play below, but beware that it contains some graphic content.
Miller was immediately carted to the locker room and then transported to a hospital, where it was determined he suffered a knee dislocation.
According to CBS News, Miller underwent an emergency procedure to save his leg Monday morning, and it’s currently stabilized. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that it’s not clear if amputation had ever been considered, but surgeons had to graft tissue from his other leg to repair the damaged artery.
Miller has had an injury-plagued career since entering the league in 2009. He’s been married to Kristen Pospisil for nearly a decade, and they have multiple children together.
Here’s what you need to know about Miller and his wife:
1. Zach & Kristen Have Been Married for Nearly 10 Years
According to a wedding announcement in Wahoo Newspaper, Kristen and Zach were high school sweethearts and tied the knot July 26 at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Wahoo, Nebraska. They both attended Bishop Neumann High School and graduated in 2002. Kristen was a volleyball player at the school and returned to play in an alumni game last year.
Kristen is the daughter of Larry and Peggy Pospisal, and she attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln along with Zach. There, she majored in business and obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in finance.
While Zach spent a lot of his time on the Cornhuskers football team, he studied criminal justice.
2. The Couple Have 3 Children Together
Kristen and Zach welcomed their first child together in 2010. It was a girl named Isabella, who was born in February 2010. Two years in 2012, Kristen gave birth to the couples’ first son, Kashton.
Earlier this year, they welcomed their second son and third child, Breckin, to the world.
Children are a big part of Zach’s personal life, as Dan Wiederer of the The Chicago Tribune reported how he once inspired an 8-year old boy with brain cancer.
Ryan Creemens was visiting his uncle in the Tampa area two seasons ago when Miller played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At the end of the game, Miller threw his game-worn gloves into the stands, and they were caught by Ryan. After that, Ryan sent Miller a thank-you note, expressing how much the gloves meant to him.
Six months later in June 2016, he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a tumor in his sinus that was growing into his skull.
Miller continued to speak to Ryan through his fight with the brain cancer. He underwent several chemo treatments, and a surgical procedure left him with a permanent disfigurement on his skull.
“It was never in his mind that he looked funny or that he didn’t fit in,” Ryan’s father, Eric Creemens, told The Tribune. “To him, it was, ‘Hey, I look like this because I’m a badass. I’m a warrior who’s fighting cancer.’”
This past summer, Miller invited Ryan to attend Bears training camp, and the two hit it off. Ryan’s cancer is now in remission.
3. Zach Returned to Nebraska with Kristen, Who Helped Him Heal
Injuries have dampened much of Miller’s career, and it reached a point in 2013 where he hadn’t played in a regular-season game in two seasons because of injuries. He was playing for the Buccaneers at the time and suffered a concussion during a preseason game.
The concussion ultimately led to him being waived by the team. After he was cut, he moved back to Nebraska where Kristen was living. He told The Tribune in a 2015 interview that Kristen and other family members helped his mind and body to focus.
“I don’t want to say it was an easy transition, but going through those recovery days, they supported me in the plan that I had,” Miller told the newspaper. “Had to get up, go to rehab, and I’m not really working, not really involved in football, but I still have a specific schedule I have to stick to and they allow me to take care of what I need to take care of.”
Miller told The Lincoln Journal Star that the rehab process was made a lot easier by being able to spend more time with his wife and children.
“Since Daddy was home a lot, I helped organize events for the family and I learned about cooking, laundry and all the stuff that goes with being a dad,” Miller said to the newspaper. “They love football and watching football games. And now, they can see Dad play.”
Miller was signed by Bears general manager Phil Emery months later, and he made an impact once he got the chance.
“As soon as he got here, you could just tell this guy knows how to play football, he knows how to run routes,” former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said to The Tribune. “I’ve always liked throwing to Zach. He’s one those easy guys who you know where he’s going to be. He’s a friendly target, and he’s a smart player.”
4. Miller Said He & His Wife Felt ‘Comfortable’ in Chicago
It seemed like Miller finally found a home after all the injuries and teams. He told Bob LeGere of The Daily Herald last year that the prospect of staying with the Bears was a no-brainer. He signed a two-year deal with the team worth $7.5 million. But it wasn’t just the money, he said, it was about being able to stay in a place his family loves.
“This is a comfortable place for me and my family,” he said. “This is where we wanted to be. The organization, the way (general manager) Ryan (Pace) is moving forward, and coach (John) Fox’s vision. It’s something that I really wanted to be a part of.”
5. Zach & Kristen Are Involved With Several Charities
Zach and Kristen have been involved with a few charities since he entered the NFL. Back in May, he posted several photos to Instagram of he and Kristen attending the “Bears Care Gala,” where the proceeds went toward finding a cure for breast and ovarian cancer. The event raised over $600,000 for charity.
Zach’s photo on Instagram showed him playing the piano with his wife sitting on top of it. But sitting in front of a piano doesn’t seem to be an unfamiliar position for Miller. They have a piano in their home, and it seems like it gets a good workout.
During the offseason, Zach posted a video of him playing the song “Still D.R.E.” by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg that was released back in 1999.