Hit during football game tears Hellgate junior's kidney in two

2011-09-27T07:00:00Z 2011-09-27T18:48:18Z Hit during football game tears Hellgate junior's kidney in twoBy JAMIE KELLY of the Missoulian missoulian.com
September 27, 2011 7:00 am  • 

Everybody agrees it was a good, clean hit that sent Hellgate High School football player Luke Bewley to the turf Friday afternoon.

But nobody knows it or feels it more than Bewley, a Hellgate junior who was blindsided by a Billings West player on a special-teams play during a game at Missoula County Stadium.

"I think he got a shoulder pad on me," said Bewley, who has been in the hospital since and won't be out until at least Tuesday.

Watching from the coaches' box, linebacker coach Willie Beamon saw the play unfold, and saw Bewley go down. It didn't seem to be particularly brutal from where he was sitting.

"I knew it was a good hit, but I had no idea it did that," said Beamon, who has been visiting Bewley in the hospital daily since Friday night. He is a great kid, a hard worker and a valuable player on both sides of the ball at halfback, linebacker and special teams, said Beamon.

The play came in the third quarter after the Knights punted. Bewley went for the ball carrier but didn't see the truck about to hit him.

That's no exaggeration, because Bewley's injury is one that doctors mostly see in violent car crashes.

It tore one of his kidneys in two.

That was only discovered hours later, when Marty and Bobbi Bewley drove their son to the St. Patrick Hospital emergency room at the request of team trainer Lindsey Ross.

"(Ross) called and said that Luke was in severe pain," said Bobbi Bewley. "And I said, ‘What should I give him? Tylenol? Advil?' She said, ‘No, you should take him to the emergency room.' "

Luke had already been throwing up on the sidelines, but that's not uncommon in football games - especially ones played in near-90-degree heat, as Friday afternoon's was. He had been sidelined but was watching the game in between bouts of nausea.

Once on the team bus, however, the pain became so intense he could barely walk. That's when Ross made the call.

The emergency room staff at St. Pat's knew the signs of internal trauma, so they handed Luke a plastic cup and sent him into a private room.

"You know they're not going to let you out of here until you pee," Bobbi Bewley told her son. "Well, he did and it was solid blood."

A CAT scan showed a kidney torn in two.

"And," he said, "I had a blood clot in my back."

***

On Sunday, surgeons put in a stint to siphon blood and other liquids away from Bewley's shredded kidney.

Meanwhile, Hellgate's coaches and friends and neighbors - a hundred of them at least - came to see the family while Luke was under the knife.

"I have to tell you that when he went into surgery yesterday, there were a million people in here," said Bobbi Bewley from her son's hospital room. "The Billings West coach even called and said that Luke is in his prayers."

After surgery, doctors told the Bewleys that Luke - the youngest of four Bewley boys - is a fortunate son.

Because the long-term prognosis is that the teenager will recover just fine, that the kidney will regenerate itself and that he could actually be back on the gridiron for his senior year.

Knights fans may also see him this winter and spring on the basketball court, where he plays wing and point guard for Hellgate - though it will probably curtail his season and diminish his playing time.

"In about three or four weeks, I can probably start shooting around, but nothing really physical," Bewley said.

But the best news for Bewley is that he'll be back on the baseball diamond in the spring, where the multi-sport athlete is also the catcher for the AA Missoula Mavericks.

Take his football, maybe, and take his basketball, but don't let his baseball dreams die.

"That's the sport," said Bewley, "that I'm looking to go places in."

Beamon will miss his player, especially if his football career with Hellgate is over. But he had words of encouragement nonetheless.

"As long as you can play baseball," he told him. "Because I know that it's your first love."

And that would answer a mom's prayers.

"We've just been praying," said Bobbi Bewley. "Praying and hoping."

Reach reporter Jamie Kelly at 523-5254 or at jkelly@missoulian.com.

 

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