Story of Survival – Luke Duvall To Speak at Clinton School


luke duvall

Luke Duvall was a sophomore high school football player in Atkins, Arkansas when he became an overnight television star in October 2009 when CBS’ 60 Minutes began following his story.  At the height of the H1N1 pandemic, Luke was rushed to Arkansas Children’s Hospital to save his life.  His story helped educate the public on the importance of vaccinations. On the four-year anniversary of arriving at Children’s Hospital on its helicopter, Angel One, Luke retells his remarkable story.

“This program highlights the outstanding work of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital staff,” said Clinton School of Public Service Dean Skip Rutherford. “Luke, a stellar athlete at Atkins High, now is a student at Arkansas Tech University. For those who don’t know the story, the large majority of the Atkins high school football team came down with the flu following a Friday night game.

“All apparently had normal recoveries except Luke,” Rutherford said.

When:  Monday, October 7, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.

Where:  Clinton School of Public Service, Sturgis Hall

Reserve your seats by emailing or calling (501) 683-5239.

Here is part of Luke’s story, in his own words.

“Friday, October 2nd, 2009 Atkins vs. Mountain View, five days until emergency med flight. It was the first cool night of the season. I remember thinking when the game got started “Wow, I can’t wait to get back in the car where the heater is”. That probably explains how I felt. I was coming down with a virus called H1N1, or swine flu, that would put me on a vent, make me susceptible to pneumonia, and almost take my life. I had no idea that exhaustion was the first signs of having this flu because it had only been in America for about a year. Because of this, I didn’t know much about it. I thought I was just having a bad night and was going to have to try to play through it, but later it came to be known that I had no business playing that game.

Saturday, October 3rd, four days until med flight. I woke up feeling like ten pounds of trash in a 3 pound sack. I felt horrible. This isn’t uncommon for the day after a game considering I play both ways and special teams.  I knew that it was a little different kind of tired, but none-the-less I forced myself to get up and go work for my grandpa. My grandpa being the slave driver he is didn’t cut me any slack all day. He kept pushing me and pushing me to keep up with him and then, as if  it wasn’t bad enough already, convinced me to go out on a double date with him that night. I shouldn’t have been out doing any of that in the condition I was in. I survived work and the date by telling myself that I was ok and that I just had a little headache and nothing was the matter. Boy was I wrong. …”

And his call for everyone to get vaccinated.

“I really hope everyone gets the H1N1 vaccination. What I have been through has changed my life forever. Except by the grace of God I would not have survived.  While I was at ACH there were many kids that had H1N1 who didn’t make it. I can’t help but think how different things could have been for me and for them if we had all been vaccinated.  Since leaving ACH  my whole family and I have gotten the vaccine.  Don’t wait. Get the shot!”

Tags: , , ,