July 10, 2006
Tourette's Syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects at least 100,000 Americans, many of them children. One local child with Tourette's has managed to overcome the odds and achieve great things.
13-year-old Zach Morris has accomplished a lot in his short life. Zach is an honor student at Jack Jouett that plays football, lacrosse and even wrestles.
This year he qualified for the National Wrestling Tournament of Champions.
"I haven't been to one tournament this year that I haven't placed in," said Zach Morris.
Silently he is dealing with an uncontrollable disorder. Zach was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome three years ago. He does not have the verbal tics that are often talked about, but the subtle more involuntary blinking or head jerking tics that go along with stomach and head aches.
"I know how it is to have [Tourette's] and it's just hard on me sometimes but that's life," said Zach.
That type of attitude is what keeps him going. Zach has learned to not let Tourette's get in the way of what he enjoys.
When the tics start right before a big match he tries to relax his body and concentrate. "When I get on the mat I'm totally focused and I'm not ticking at all," Zach said.
In the future, Zach plans to put his focus on something else. He wants to become a Neurologist.
"I see people when I go [to the doctor] with these problems; I want to be able to help them," said Zach.
His grandfather said he is behind Zach 100%. "He's accomplished a lot and he's going to keep going," said Stan Quarles.
Zach believes most people are ashamed of having Tourette's, but he likes to talk about it. He said he often teaches other kids his age about the disorder.