By Rachael O'Neil | CBS 11 NewsBy CBSDFW.com Staff

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas teen was fighting for his life this time last year. Now he’s breaking records on the track — even making an appearance at a national meet.

“I was stuck, like, I didn’t know what to do. I just knew that God had a purpose and I knew that I had to have that surgery for something,” 13-year-old Zeke Mankins told CBS 11 News.

The eighth grader is talking about the open-heart surgery he underwent last year. At the top of 2020, his cardiologist noticed a heart murmur. Test results revealed Zeke’s heart valve was damaged— a medical issue that was life-threatening.

“It was really tough to see him like that,” Chad Mankins, Zeke’s father shared. “I would have jumped on the operating table and done it for him if I could have.”

The procedure was successful but it came out a small price: Zeke could no longer play football— the game he loved first. Luckily, Zeke found a love and track and field. For the first time, he joined his school and club track team. He broke school records in the 100, 200 and 400 meter dash.

This summer Zeke made his way to Houston participating on his teams 4×400 meter relay! The track stars future plans? “My number one hope is to make the next Olympics in Paris,” Zeke said.

CBSDFW.com Staff