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Luke's Comeback

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Saints fans love watching their team do battle in the Dome. For one dad and his little boy, getting to a Saints game in New Orleans next season means even more.

Tim Siegel hasn't lived in the city since he was a teenager. The tennis court called him to Texas, playing professionally climbing the coaching ranks to a Division One job at Texas Tech.

In Lubbock for over 20 years, he built a winner and he built a family - his wife, Jenny; three girls and his only son – 9-year-old Luke, a boy who's cut from the same competitive cloth.

He's a tough, tough little boy,” Siegel said. “He's a little baseball player. He loves sports. … I guess you could say I've taught him either well or not well in the sense that when the Saints lose, he gets very upset. He's cried to me, he's such a huge fan.”

Last July, Siegel stepped down as head tennis coach at Texas Tech to make time for his true home team, but just two weeks later on a hot Texas afternoon, fate handed him his hardest coaching assignment yet. Luke was driving a friend's motorized golf cart through the neighborhood
when he lost control the cart tipped, pinning him underneath. Workers nearby heard the terrified cries for help.

“And we all just sprinted over there and checked on him because the other kid started screaming for help,” said Dylan Wilson. “And when we got over there, he was just pretty messed up at that point.”

Doctors placed Luke in a medically induced coma to treat his traumatic brain and chest injuries. A community prayed and his parents clung to hope. The news got worse.

“The first three days he had probably less than 50 percent chance to survive the accident,” Siegel said.

Doctors said Luke may never walk or talk again, but Luke wouldn't quit.

“He is showing what a fighter he is,” Siegel said.

After several months and intensive rehab, Luke was allowed to go back home where he was welcomed with open arms. His mom, who is a nurse, stays home with him. A therapist visits their house each day. Even the smallest movements are tremendous milestones.

And he's back to his Black and Gold bedroom with his Saints shrine and his hero cheering him on.

“Hey Luke, this is Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints,” Brees said in a video recorded especially for Luke. “I just wanted to say I'm thinking about you, buddy. Keep fighting. I'm hoping and praying for a full recovery.”

“I've played that video to Luke, I would say, thousands of times,” Siegel said. “It has been incredibly difficult for all of us, but we're keeping our faith that Luke will continue to make strides.”

And with each small victory, the dreams get bigger.

“I can't wait to see you at the Saints game in the stands, cheering loud,” Brees says. “I look forward to seeing you soon. I'm praying for you.”

“I told him that we will be at a game next year for sure, and that next year will be a better season than this last one,” Siegel said.

Inside the Superdome, here in Tim Siegel's hometown, two empty seats are waiting to be filled. For a dad and his little boy. When you see how far Luke has come, you somehow get the feeling that fighting spirit, and a whole lot of faith, will get them exactly where they belong.

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