Sept. 29, 2017
ARLINGTON, Texas - On July 28, 2015, former Texas Tech tennis coach Tim Siegel and his family's life changed forever when he received a telephone call that no parent ever wants to hear.
That afternoon, Siegel's son, then 9-year-old Luke, was involved in a golf cart accident in which he suffered major head trauma, multiple fractures and collapsed lungs. He spent the next 44 days in a Lubbock hospital going through multiple surgeries and procedures.
A month later, Luke went to Fort Worth's Cook Children's Hospital for treatment. During that visit, doctors told the family Luke would likely not be able to speak or move for the rest of his life.
Tim and Luke make frequent trips to Cook Children's for ongoing treatments and, earlier this week, stopped by the UTA Tennis Center to share their inspiring story of love, perseverance and commitment with the Maverick men and women's tennis coaches and student-athletes.
In addition to sharing the story of Luke's accident, the long-term medical treatment and advocating for golf cart safety, Siegel talked to the team about ways each person can develop leadership, dedication and personal growth in their everyday lives and in competition.
"We are fortunate enough to have Tim come over and speak to the team about life and the experience that he had to deal with," said UTA tennis coach Diego Benitez. "It was great for him to come over and put things into perspective for the whole team. He talked a lot about tennis, motivation and leadership and then about being united and taking it one step at a time. It really put things into perspective. We have known Tim for awhile, it was just great to have him here speaking to the team."
There is no playbook or manual for going through what the Siegel family is dealing with. Siegel admitted every day presents new challenges and that some days are more difficult than others. But, they rely heavily on the incredible outpouring of support from a variety of sources - the Lubbock and Texas Tech communities, an impressive list of well-known athletes and personalities as well as the professional and collegiate tennis communities.
"It could happen to us any time," Benitez said. "You can be walking and just slip and your whole life is turned around. It really makes you appreciate what you have all the time and taking care of each other and enjoying every minute as if it'd be the last."
For more information on the Siegel family story and the Team Luke Foundation, click here.