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Luke Siegel Golf Cart Accident

luke siegel golf cart accident
luke siegel golf cart accident

Luke Siegel, whose battle to recover after a 2015 golf cart accident left him with a serious brain injury but also inspired a charitable foundation in his name, died Thursday morning from complications of COVID-19.

The Siegel family’s announcement came less than a day after they took to their Pray for Luke Siegel social media pages asking followers for prayers as Luke was hospitalized with pneumonia after contracting COVID-19. He was 15 years old.

“We lost our sweet Luke at 8:39 this morning,” reads a post Thursday morning. “Our hearts are shattered.”

Team Luke launched by former Texas Tech tennis coach Tim Siegel

Luke’s father, former Texas Tech and Lubbock-Cooper ISD tennis coach Tim Siegel, launched the Team Luke non-profit organization. He’s spent the past six years sharing his son’s story and advocating for golf cart safety.

During a charitable event in 2019, Tim Siegel said Team Luke Hope For Minds — Lubbock and Austin charitable organizations that merged in January 2018 — had been raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, distributing funds to families in states across the country dealing with children’s brain injuries.

Tim Siegel’s advocacy and his background as a former college and professional tennis player and coach helped take Luke’s story to a broad audience.

Luke Siegel story: Team Luke Hope For Minds shines a light on child brain trauma

Drew Brees and Dick Vitale came to Lubbock for fundraising events. Elvis Andrus, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Jim Kelly and Kliff Kingsbury reached out. Patrick Mahomes has worn a Team Luke Hope for Minds wristband in games — and on the cover of the new Madden NFL 22 video game.

Last December, ESPN told the Siegels’ story on Sunday NFL Countdown.

Photos of Luke Siegel surrounded by sports teams and other groups became near-ubiquitous.

Athletes, organizations offer tributes to Luke Siegel

On Thursday, tributes to Luke poured in on social media.

Mahomes tweeted, “RIP Luke. The impact you made in my life will never be forgotten! My thoughts and prayers are with the whole Siegel family!”

Tech football coach Matt Wells wrote, “There was no better inspiration for our program than Luke Siegel. We join the countless others in mourning his loss, but his memory and legacy will live forever. We are all thinking and praying for our friends Tim, Jenny and the entire Siegel family.”

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association wrote, “The college tennis community mourns the passing of Luke Siegel. He will remain a light of hope and an inspiration for many.”

Brees, holder of numerous NFL passing records, has been an especially prominent supporter of the Siegels. Tim Siegel spent much of his childhood in New Orleans and passed along his avid Saints’ fandom to his little boy. They vowed to attend at least one Saints game a year.

Early on in Luke’s ordeal, a friend reached out to Brees, who spent the last 15 years of a 20-year NFL career with the Saints.

Brees reciprocated. He subsequently hosted Luke and the Siegels in New Orleans, and was the special guest at the 2018 Team Luke Hope for Minds fundraising event in Lubbock.

In a 2019 segment on Bally Sports Southwest, Brees said he was asked in August 2015 to send a message of hope to a little boy in Lubbock who had suffered a serious brain injury.

“Little did I know that would lead to so much more,” Brees said. “Luke has inspired me in so many ways. Not only that, but his family and the way that the community has rallied around him. You can feel the love of a father for his son. You can feel the love of a family for their son. You can feel the love of a community for one of their own.”

Brees spent time with the Siegels both in Lubbock and New Orleans, including a memorable moment at a Saints practice.

“Maybe the most special thing that ever happened to Luke is Drew Brees threw a pass in the end zone to one of Luke’s good friends, who handed it to Luke,” Tim Siegel said.

Vitale was among featured guests and speakers at the 2019 event benefiting Team Luke Hope For Minds, which benefits young people suffering the effects of traumatic brain injuries.

“It’s In God’s Hands” was Siegel’s first-person account of going through such a heart-wrenching ordeal with his son.

“When I read their story,” Vitale said at the time, “it just tears your heart out. The love he has for his son, the love he has for his family is unreal. We all love our kids, but to read the words of what he went through from the time he got the call of his son being injured in an accident … I don’t think anybody can read that without shedding a tear. You’re not human, you don’t have a heart, if you don’t.”

Luke’s accident happened on July 28, 2015. Less than three weeks before, Tim Siegel had resigned after 23 years coaching at Tech, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Not long after, his life changed forever and he channeled his background in coaching into a higher purpose. Through Team Luke Hope for Minds, he and his son became beacons for other families in similar circumstances.

“Siegel Family: U have inspired a community & anyone outside of it who ever heard Luke’s story,” Tech soccer coach Tom Stone tweeted on Thursday. “Our hearts ached 4 you. We prayed for Luke constantly. You taught us about love, faith & STRENGTH. We mourn the loss of precious Luke w/ you. “Fight Like Luke” will never be forgotten.”