This was not your ordinary food poisoning.
This was worse than anything you can even imagine.
“I was throwing up like crazy,” Zach Pascal said. “Like 50 times. I couldn’t stop throwing up.”
Pascal, who signed a one-year free agent contract with the Eagles in May, came down with food poisoning before the Eagles began training camp, thought he was getting better, took a turn for the worse late last week, found himself in the hospital for four days, underwent a procedure while he was there and finally was well enough to practice on a limited basis on Thursday.
“Still trying to recover from everything,” he said. “My body is still recovering from that, so trying to take it slow starting out.”
Pascal missed the first five days of practice in addition to two walkthrough days and countless meetings.
“I couldn’t do anything,” he said after practice Thursday. “I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t focus at all. If I sipped some water I was throwing up. If I moved wrong I was throwing up. Anything I did.”
Pascal said he never got food poisoning before this year and he’s now been stricken twice, and both times became long, protracted, difficult ordeals.
And this one cost him a week of training camp.
“I was in the hospital from like Thursday to Sunday just to get fluids,” he said. “I would not stop throwing up. I came out to practice one day last week, had to go to the hospital that day. It was up and down, up and down, so we had to find out what was really going on.
“I had it baaaaad. They said I had bacteria in my stomach. I couldn’t keep anything down. Water, that’s the purest form of liquid, it’s coming right back up. My girlfriend took care of me. She’s never seen me like that.”
Pascal was feeling well enough Thursday to finally get on the practice field, and his reps were limited, but it was a big step.
“Today was the first day I actually had to run,” he said. “I was telling the guys, even my first reps, it felt weird just running.
“It was hard. It’s hard because the way I mentally play the game, if I’m out there, I’m going full-go, so when it’s time to slow it down it’s kind of weird. My body was like, ‘Uh, what?’ I gotta get all that back, but I’ll be there real soon.”
Pascal still isn’t all the way back. He said he probably won’t be full-go until practice on Tuesday morning.
“We have a protocol for guys coming back in,” he said. “Other teams, if you say you’re good, they’re going to throw you back in there, but there’s a protocol here to bring you along slowly and just be careful about it.
“Next practice (Saturday), I’ll be able to get two plays a period and then hopefully by Sunday (at the Linc) three plays or four plays and then by next week I should be full go.”
The bad news is Pascal has missed a lot of time, but the good news is that he spent the 2018 through 2020 seasons with the Colts and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni.
“It’s the same offense we had in Indy,” he said. “I know it. I’m not behind at all.”
But that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt to miss the first week of practice with his new team. He needs to build up chemistry with Jalen Hurts and the other receivers, and that process has been delayed.
“It is disappointing,” he said. “Very disappointing. Because I’m trying to build that connection. We have been building it with Jalen and the other guys OTAs and the summer, but it’s still different when it’s camp. You’ve got 11-on-11, you’re trying to get the connection going, so that’s the biggest thing.
“But it’s still early, and we still have time. I’m just glad to be back out here.”