Concord University graduate dies suddenly while coaching football in China

Mercer County
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ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL/WVNS) – An Abingdon family is mourning the sudden death of a son, coach and teacher. Zach Arms’ family tells us he died Wednesday, February 27, from a heart attack.

He grew up in Southwest Virginia and played football for Abingdon High School. Arms also graudated from Concord University in West Virginia. 

He was living in Shanghai, China coaching and playing football there.Arms was the head coach and defensive tackle for the Shanghai Nighthawks, part of the American Football League of China.

His family tells us he moved to China three years ago because of his love for travel and football.

“Zach is the most humble, the most helpful person in the world,” Arms’ mother Debby Arms-Campbell said. She describes him as a giver. “You can’t find nobody that can say something bad about him. He had a big heart. It was as big as he was,” Arms-Campbell said.

He moved to China because he wanted to see the world, he wanted to teach, and he loved football.

Arms-Campbell said her son was visiting home in February and he told her he was happy living in China. His mother is holding on to the precious memories that she has of her son.

“When he played for Abingdon High School. That’s what made Zachary smile is football,” Arms-Campbell said showing us a picture of him.

She’s proud of his accomplishments on the football field, but that’s not all. “I’m most proud of the person that he was,” Arms-Campbell said.

His family now just wants him home. “I just want my baby home,” Arms-Campbell said.

Zach’s mother tells us that he wanted to play football until he no longer could and then wanted to coach and travel more.He would have turned 30-years-old next month.

Arms’ family said they’re still trying to get his body back home from China.

His alma mater, Concord University in West Virginia, is planning a celebration of life for him, Arms-Campbell said.

Arms-Campbell’s family friend has this page set up to help with expenses associated in bringing Zach’s body back to the United States.

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