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Soaring Eagle sidelined in accident

October 01, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer
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In less than 24 hours, Southwest High School junior varsity football player Luke Prock went from being a player with all the potential in the world to being a player whose high school playing career was in limbo.

On Sept. 7 against Banning High, Prock led the Southwest junior varsity to an 18-6 victory, racking up four sacks, three tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery while playing defensive end. Many high school players would like to put up numbers like that in a year, let alone a game. He did all that while playing only one quarter.

With that performance the 16-year-old sophomore secured his spot as the Eagles' starting defensive end.

Everything looked to be falling into place for the 5-foot-9, 135-pounder, the starting quarterback on the freshman team last year.

But everything came to a screeching halt the following day.

While racing his motorcycle in Plaster City at the Dez Sprint event, Prock seemed to be on his way to capping a stellar weekend as he was in first place by four minutes on the second lap.

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But just as things were looking good, Prock, who was traveling at about 60 mph hit a small mound, causing his bike to kick up from behind, sending him over the handle bars, with the motorcycle landing on top of him.

"When it happened I really didn't think anything of it. I got up and really didn't feel that bad. I could feel that I was bleeding a little on my leg and that was about it," said Prock. "The people that were there with me were right around where it happened, so they came over to me to see if I was OK.

"They called the paramedics over and they looked at me. The guy initially thought that I might have had some torn ligaments in my leg, but nothing really serious."

As a precaution he was taken to El Centro Regional Medical Center, where he said he was told he would have to wait about four hours before anyone could look at him. So he went home. Four hours later, as he was set to go back to the hospital, the pain started setting in. His legs, back and shoulder were tremendously painful and that's when he thought something might be seriously wrong.

Prock went back to El Centro Regional and the doctors found that he had suffered a separated shoulder, a pelvis broken in three places, a dislocated disc in his lower back and a broken bone in his lower back near his pelvis.

The meant the end of his football season.

"I know that I was on my way to being one of the best players out there … now I'm nothing," Prock said. "I had put in all that time during the summer, lifting weights and getting ready for this season. Now I have to start all over again."

Said Southwest J.V. coach Jake Peterson: "Luke really started coming into his own and was finding his niche. He wasn't a very outspoken player, but he let his actions speak for him. I really think he was developing into one of the leaders on this team. It's just sad that something like this had to happen."

What hurts Prock more than anything isn't the pain suffered in the accident but the pain of not being able to do the two things he loves most.

He has a love and passion for football that is rivaled only by his love for riding and racing motorcycles.

"I just love playing football so much. I mean, I think it's fun getting to hit people out there," said Prock. "I'm going to be able to go back out there on the sidelines in a week or two and it's going to be difficult just watching them play. I'm gonna have to watch them and if I see someone miss a tackle or something, I'll just be thinking to myself, ‘That's where I would've been and I know I would've made the play.' I'm pretty pissed off about that."

Then there's his first love, racing. He's been racing longer than he's been playing football.

"No one wants me to race, especially my parents. But I just love it so much," Prock said. "The other day I was working on my motorcycles, working on engines and just cleaning them up, and when I was done they looked brand new. But all I could do was just look at them."

Prock's accident was about his fifth motorcycle accident in which he has suffered broken bones. He estimated that throughout his life, in both motorcycle and non-motorcycle incidents, he has broken about 30 bones.

But he won't let that stop him from making a triumphant comeback. Doctors initially said that it would be about a month before he'd be able to walk and two months before he'd be able to go back to school.

That two months away from school turned into only a little more than two weeks. After boredom, Prock — with the aid of crutches — returned to school.

Next on the agenda are returns to the gridiron and racing.

"I really want to get back to doing both again. I know it's going to be hard and it's going to take a lot of work, but I know I can do it."

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