FORT SMITH (KFSM)--Just over two years ago, 11-year-old Luke Siegel suffered an anoxic traumatic brain injury in a golf cart accident. This morning in Fort Smith, the tennis community rallied to Play For Luke.
"What we were told 26 months ago and what he's doing now basically is because of the fighter that he is and because of all of you," Tim Siegel, Luke's dad said to the large crowd gathered at Hardscrabble Country Club.
Since July of 2015, Luke has been through intense rehabilitation and various treatments that have resulted in significant progress in his recovery. To continue to raise awareness, Tim, who played college tennis at Arkansas and coached collegiality at SMU and Texas Tech for over 20 years, reached out to former professional players Andy Roddick and Mark Knowles.
"I got an email from Tim Siegel just saying what the deal was, what was going on, what we were supporting, why we're all here. And it was an easy yes for me to be here today," Roddick explained. "I am consistently impressed by the tennis community and how it's able to band together and make the tennis world very small."
"It's an incredible foundation and it's such a big deal," emcee Rossi Morreale, a Southside High School and University of Arkansas graduate said. "This young boy has inspired so many people from across the country that literally Andy Roddick and Mark Knowles are here in Fort Smith to be a part of it."
While rain forced the event inside from Ben Geren Park, spirits were high and the raffle and silent auction still raised plenty of money for the Team Luke Foundation.
To cap off the already inspirational morning, Eden Carlson was present and walking around the courts. Carlson nearly drowned in February of 2016 and did not have a heartbeat for two hours. But through hyperbaric treatment, 95% of her brain is back to normal.