Jaguars to host stricken 6-year-old fan

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 06, 2011
Brad Meester hopes to be at midfield for Sunday's coin toss. The Jacksonville Jaguars center wants a close-up view of what's sure to be a memorable moment. Meester's buddy, 6-year-old Luke Akerstrom, will walk -- maybe even run -- to the middle of the field and serve as an honorary captain against the Cincinnati Bengals. No matter how he gets there, it will be the latest step in a journey that has been far from ordinary. Luke suffered a 35-minute seizure on Dec. 31, 2010, and was diagnosed with a rare form of encephalitis. He lost important cells that control motor function and didn't move his legs for six months. He spent four months in the hospital, where Meester, his wife and their four daughters became some of Luke's regular visitors. Jaguars general manager Gene Smith, head athletic trainer Mike Ryan, communications manager Ryan Robinson, two cheerleaders and the team mascot also stopped by. So did Denver Broncos quarterback (and former Florida Gators star) Tim Tebow and even former President George W. Bush. With constant therapy and around-the-clock care, Luke slowly got better. His communication skills improved dramatically and he managed to take several steps by himself when he visited the team's training camp in August. He got a rousing ovation, then walked off the field with Maurice Jones-Drew as the star running back held back tears. Luke is nearly running now, which is more than doctors expected -- but exactly what Luke envisioned when he told his mother he needed to be able to walk again ''because Jaguars don't roll, they run.'' Meester expects teammates to be stunned by Luke's progress. ''It's going to be huge for him to be out there,'' Meester said. ''I know he's very excited. He's always excited to come to the game, but to get a chance to be out there for the coin toss, it's going to be huge. It really hasn't been that long ago and he's come a long way. I think they'll be amazed.'' Luke gave his family and friends a big scare a couple of weeks ago when he fell at school. Luke didn't talk for 36 hours, prompting fear that he had a significant setback. Numerous tests were done, but no cause could be found. Luke eventually started talking and walking again, then returned to school. He even attended last week's game against New Orleans. This one will be considerably different, though. Meester bought 11 tickets for Luke's family to attend the game and see their boy take center stage for a brief moment. His paternal grandmother is coming from Sweden, and his maternal grandparents are traveling from Louisiana along with his uncle. Meester doesn't know exactly what to expect, but he knows it will be special. ''Just seeing him out there like that, it just shows how unbelievable he's doing,'' Meester said. ''It's amazing how far he's come.'' Also see:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’


Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker