On the Site:


Utah student surprised with Super Bowl tickets after medical battle, brain surgery

Feb 11, 2023, 11:20 PM | Updated: Feb 12, 2023, 1:08 pm

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — A Utah Valley University student is going to Super Bowl LVII after being surprised with tickets after a medical battle involving a seizure, a rare diagnosis, and brain surgery.

Tami Zerilli told her son Trevor Zerilli, 23, that he was going to Phoenix, Arizona, for a follow-up appointment one year after he had surgery there. He had stayed at the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

When he got there, representatives from DIRECTV showed up with gifts, saying: “The appointment’s not going to happen today. That’s not why you’re in town. You’re actually in town because you have four tickets to the Super Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona!”

“My jaw really dropped,” Trevor Zerilli recalled. “I don’t even remember what I said. I was stunned.”

Trevor and his family enjoying the pre-events at the Super Bowl. (Courtesy: Zerilli family) Trevor and his family enjoying the pre-events at the Super Bowl. (Courtesy: Zerilli family) Trevor and his family enjoying the pre-events at the Super Bowl. (Courtesy: Zerilli family) Trevor and his family enjoying the pre-events at the Super Bowl. (Courtesy: Zerilli family) Trevor and his family enjoying the pre-events at the Super Bowl. (Courtesy: Zerilli family)

The surprise came after a rough couple of years. In 2021, Trevor had a seizure while on the phone with his mom.

“I could hear him seizing and hitting everything inside of his car,” Tami said, “and that lasted for about 40 seconds. Then, it was just dead silent.”

That led to a diagnosis of AVM, or arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal connection between arteries and veins in the spine. The family found a surgeon who performed a miracle, Tami said.

Trevor had a full recovery.

Trevor coming back home after his brain surgery. (Courtesy: Zerilli family)

Tami had a hard time keeping the secret after she got the call on Monday about the last-minute tickets. When her son arrived in Phoenix, he called her about the decorations and people at the airport.

“He’s going into such detail, and he’s so excited by it that I had to mute myself because I was laughing. I was really laughing. He was like, ‘Oh my gosh, Mom, the people here are really into this Super Bowl. It’s amazing,’” Tami said.

It wasn’t until the next day that Trevor finally found out about the surprise, which came with the VIP treatment and activities all weekend for him, along with his mom, dad, and little brother.

The UVU student is on track to graduate from his pre-med program in 2026.


KSL 5 TV Live

Good News

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Utah teen receives Congressional Award Gold Medal for outstanding community service

A Utah Teen has received a prestigious award from Congress. The honor took four years to achieve, involving hundreds of hours of volunteer and personal work.

6 days ago

(Screenshots from TikTok)...

Eliza Pace and Josh Ellis, KSL TV

Stanley brand offers to replace woman’s car after viral video shows cup surviving car fire

One woman tested her Stanley's capabilities when it was in her car during a fire. Not only did it survive, it still had ice inside.

13 days ago

Wayne Ursenbach army colorized Army photo...

Eliza Pace

Utah veteran, survivor of Battle of the Bulge, reflects on incredible 100 years

Wayne O. Ursenbach, a World War II veteran, explosives researcher, man of faith, husband, and father will turn 100 years old on Dec. 4, 2023.

20 days ago

A young David Bench pictured with his grandmother, who inspired him to see food and connection the ...

Peter Rosen

Growing memories: The philosophy of a memory care facility chef

David Bench, chef at a memory care facility, set up garden boxes, tends to bees an chickens in order to involve residents in the farm-to-table process.

1 month ago

The Edwards family reunited with their beloved dog, Sundance. (Eddie Collins, KSL TV)...

Andrew Adams

Dog reunited with family after lost in the Wasatch County wild for nearly 10 days

A white golden retriever went missing from Heber Valley on Oct. 1. She was found and reunited with her family 10 days later, located 10 to 15 miles from where she was last seen.

2 months ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Karah Brackin

Utah woman’s journey to resiliency after traumatic brain injury

In 2018, Jenny Groberg, a wife, mom and business owner, slipped and hit her head, suffering a traumatic brain injury.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Utah student surprised with Super Bowl tickets after medical battle, brain surgery