Former football player battles back from catastrophic injury

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.

9 Responses to "Former football player battles back from catastrophic injury"

  1. Matthew Geyer (   June 14, 2013 at 2:53 am

    Hang in there Luke. My wife Phalla (30 years old) suffered multiple strokes. She was also in a coma and on life support. She’s paralyzed on her left side and like you she is nonverbal and unable to walk. She’s slowly making progress though. Stay positive and stay strong, we’ll be thinking of you.

  2. Former Classmate   June 14, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I went to school with Luke… He was very nice to me even though I was shy and didn’t really talk. He was always the funny guy. Haha… I had no idea this happened to him. This story made me cry, but I hope that he recovers soon and keeps faith. His little girl will always keep him strong. Don’t give up Luke!

  3. route 66   June 15, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Geyer and Vogt are old longstanding Fallbrook family names…from FUHS Class of ’76… Chris Vogt (?) and Jeff Geyer–any relationship ?

    FUHS ’76

  4. Latitude 33   June 16, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Luke sounds like an amazing and resilient individual. What an inspiration for everyone who is overwhelmed by set backs, health issues, money problems, anything that weighs heavily on your mind and body… Luke puts things into perspective for us all and shows that even the most difficult circumstances can be temporary obstacles.

  5. Chris Fore   June 16, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    Great to see Luke coming along in his recovery!! I was his head football coach out at Linfield Christian. He had to play JV when he transferred because of CIF rules. He would have easily started on our varsity team that year. As you can imagine, he ended up just dominating at the JV level. I think he averaged 3 TDs per game, and we would usually not let him play the second half! I was very excited to get this Fallbrook High transfer! Because of my connection to Fallbrook as a 94 grad, we hit it off right away. Luke is one of the best running backs I’ve coached in 13 years! Keep fighting #34!!

  6. Lee   June 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Sending all my love to Luke Vogt and his entire family! May you make a speedy and full recovery!

  7. Lukesdad   June 18, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Actually it is only 4 hours of visitation per month! He is now throwing a football to me, just like when he was young and we played catch.

  8. Ann VogtSchaller   June 19, 2013 at 11:30 am

    This is awesome!!!!! Keep pushing on, Luke! Love you -Ann

  9. markvogt   June 30, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    i love you luke ! You are one tough son-of-a-gun ! I am fairly inept at this computer stuff so I get your uncle Karl to help me over in Boise. I work on his old Corvette and he gives me lessons on his computer. Good Trade. I am loving the steady progress you make and the kazillion friends and family that surround you-my humble thanks to one and all!! This year on the farm I am raising peas, onions, and baby lima beans-the onions look great-the peas are almost ready to cut and combine(for seed), and the bean field looks a little weak-I planted on your birthday and sent you a photo I hope you got. The vette needs more work next weekend so another message then-till then lots a love an thinking of you a heck of a lot!!! Mark


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