Doctors didn’t think former high school football player Luke Vogt would recover from a tragic accident two years ago, but the 25-year-old has continued to amaze medical professionals.
Vogt, who played for both Fallbrook High School and Linfield Christian (Temecula), was riding his motorcycle on the 91 freeway in Corona on July 25, 2011 when he was involved in a collision with three other vehicles. His catastrophic injuries left him in a coma.
Medical experts did not believe he would be able to regain consciousness, but he did. Doctors stated he would not be able to breathe without the help of a machine, but he is now able to breathe normally. Therapists said he would never be able to use his left side again because of damage to the right side of his brain, but he is. Vogt has proven people wrong and has defied all odds in hopes of being able to function normally once again.
Vogt’s motivation comes from his two-year-old daughter, Harlowe Gonzalez. “He is driven [and] wants to get better for his daughter,” said Makayla King, Vogt’s mother.
Despite his challenges, Vogt has been able to interact with his daughter, King said.
“Harlowe is very warm towards Luke and to us. She will play with him and they’ll hand each other toys,” she explained.
Vogt attends speech therapy three times a week and physical therapy six times a week in an effort to improve.
“The speech therapist said there are five things that ensure recovery and success,” said King. “[They include] strong family support, having a pet, being around small children, being musically gifted, and speaking a second language,” explained King. His mother said Vogt has almost every factor on the list and they have proven to help him get where he is today. The support of his family, friends, and therapists are shown through “Team Luke” shirts they wear to encourage his success.
Although Vogt is seated in a wheelchair and is unable to walk, his goal during physical therapy sessions has been to stand.
He has not been able to communicate verbally, but has learned American Sign Language as a form of communication.
Vogt has been diagnosed with apraxia, a condition in which a person thinks of what he or she would like to do, but cannot physically carry out the task. Over the last seven weeks, he has improved tremendously.
“A new thing he did recently when we were in the van is he reached up, pushed the button and pulled the DVD screen down,” said King. “He must’ve been thinking the whole time ‘I want to watch a movie.’”
It has been a long journey for Vogt, but he is determined to continue his progress, in hopes of getting better for his daughter. Due to legal and personal issues, Vogt is only permitted to visit with his daughter four times per month for two hours at a time.
King said, “We put pictures of his daughter in his room and sometimes he will just stare at it as if to say, ‘When am I going to see her again?’ We tell him, ‘You’ll see her in five days, Luke’ and he’ll feel better. He had a nose surgery and he wouldn’t stop staring at the pictures. It gave him the strength to get through the pain.”
Vogt’s progress has been steady and determined. Some have said many patients would have given up, but King said “it’s for the one person he loves so dearly, his daughter.”
While rehabilitating from his injuries, Vogt has been residing in Newport Beach but hopes to return to Temecula in the future to be in closer proximity to his daughter.