By Erin Summers, NewOrleansSaints.com
Luke Siegel, a New Orleans Saints fan befriended by former quarterback Drew Brees following a serious accident, died Thursday, Aug. 19 after battling Covid pneumonia. According to social media posts from the family, Luke was admitted to the hospital earlier this week. He was 15 years old.
Luke, the son of former Texas Tech tennis coach and Rummel product Tim Siegel, was critically injured in a golf cart accident in July 2015 when he was 9. Luke suffered head and chest injuries from the crash. He spent four months at Cooks Children's Hospital before going home to Lubbock, Texas.
Former Saints quarterback Drew Brees and members of the Saints family came together to support Luke and the foundation started in his name "Team Luke Hope For Minds."
Two weeks after the accident Brees sent the family a video while they were in the hospital. Tim Siegel said he played that video for Luke at least a thousand times and talked to Luke about Brees every day.
In October 2016, Luke was able to meet his hero. A game ball given to Luke by the former quarterback still sits in Luke's room.
"Sometimes people put athletes on a pedestal they probably don't deserve to be on, but I can tell you wholeheartedly that Drew Brees deserves to be on that pedestal because of what he's meant to Luke and to our family," Tim Siegel said on the New Orleans Saints podcast in December 2020.
The Siegel family frequently attended training camp and continued to bond over Saints games after Luke's accident.
Tim Siegel started the "Team Luke Hope For Minds" foundation in 2017. Brees attended the inaugural charity event and visited the family in Lubbock.
Tim Siegel played tennis collegiately for Arkansas after graduating Rummel and went on to compete professionally at the U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon. Siegel spent 23 years as the head coach at Texas Tech before retiring in 2015.
"Everybody says they're the biggest Saints fan in the world, but I absolutely have to say there is a tie between Luke and me," Siegel said.
Luke began attending Saints games with his dad when he was 6 years old. "It's hard to put into words how special he is, but also the entire organization is," Luke said.