TUTTLE, Okla. (KFOR) – An 8th grader at Tuttle Middle School is recovering after suffering a stroke at wrestling camp. He’s fighting like a champion, which is fitting because that’s also his last name.
“Hi guys,” says Luke Champion in a video to News 4. “I’m doing good!”
Luke wrestles, plays football and basketball at Tuttle Middle School. His mother said Thursday, everything changed for the 14-year-old. He had just won a match on the last day of wrestling camp held at Oklahoma State University.
“I just commented to his brother that he looked sleepy and then he laid back and I’m like, We’re going have to go wake your brother up because he has to wrestle again,” said Valorie Champion, Luke’s mother. “I yelled at him to wake up and he opened his eyes and as soon as he did, his face drooped and he started slurring his words.”
Valorie said she screamed and yelled at people to call 911. The mother told News 4 she knew it was a stroke because her other son had one when he was a baby.
Luke was taken to a Stillwater hospital then to OU Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City to undergo multiple brain surgeries.
“He immediately went in and had a thrombectomy, which is they go in and basically retrieve the clot,” said Valorie. “He started experiencing some brain swelling and not just really waking up. They went in and did a craniotomy, which is basically they open up the side of his skull and it allows for his brain to expand.”
On Monday, doctors started waking Luke up and took him off of a ventilator.
Hours later, the Tuttle community came together to hold a vigil for Luke, his family, and his teammates.
“We’re gathering tonight just to pray and lift up him and his family hopefully for a smooth recovery,” said Kristen Finn, a Tuttle teacher and coach. “We just ask that people join us in praying.”
“Champion on three! One, two, three, Champion!” yelled his teammates in a huddle.
Valorie told News 4, Luke was so touched when he heard about the vigil, it made him emotional.
“It’s all kind of starting to crash in on him that he’s in the hospital,” said Valorie. “He’s hurt enough that he’s got the world praying for him.”
“Thank you for the prayers!” said Luke in the video. “I love you!”
Valorie said Luke starts therapy on Tuesday. So far, they’re not sure what caused the blood clot or if it’s genetic. One thing is for sure, recovery will take time.
“They keep telling us it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Valorie. “Just continue to pray. We feel all the prayers. We feel all the love.”