After Mike spoke at Marist High School, he received an email from the mom of one of the students. We want to say a very special thank-you to Trisha Addicks for providing this post and for sharing her story.
Our son, Michael, has been an Auburn fan since he met his best friend in pre-K. Both my husband and I went to UGA and are rabid UGA fans, but the pull of his friend's deep AU roots made him an Auburn fan for life. His favorite player was Philip Lutzenkirchen.
Philip’s father, Mike, spoke to our son’s senior class at his school last spring. We had a senior breakfast afterward, and I was serving with several other mothers. Michael was last through the line – which was crazy – because he loves to eat and usually makes a point to be in the front. We had no idea why he was so late to the breakfast, but as it turns out, he had stayed around to meet Mike after the talk.
That night, Michael told us about the speech and how much it affected him. We talked about alcohol, snap decisions that can alter/end a life, college, football and life after college. It was a candid, sad, good, eye-opening talk unlike any we’ve had before. I went into Michael’s room the day after this speech and found a Bible by his bed. I don’t recall there being a Bible there ever before. I know that hearing Mike speak was a catalyst for this. I cannot imagine the strength it takes for Philip’s father to do these talks, or the generosity of spirit it requires to do these speeches. His message definitely reached Michael and his friends.
Michael left this past June to play football at Vanderbilt. In the early days of August preseason camp, Michael hurt his back. He immediately had surgery and is now recuperating at home. We don’t know what the future holds for Michael and football, but I do know that he will persevere. He has received the gift of team support, love and great medical care. This is a bump in the road in what will be a very bright future for our son.
Seeing the Lutzenkirchens go on after their unimaginable tragedy helps me put things in perspective. Our other son, Charlie, is now a Senior football player at the same high school. I hope that our school administration knows what a great impact Mr. Lutzenkirchen’s talk had the players last year and that they choose him to speak to our boys again. As a parent, all I want is for my boys to be healthy and happy. I am sure that that is all the Lutzenkirchens wanted also. I am amazed that Mike Lutzenkirchen is able to help so many others while dealing with his personal pain. I didn’t know his son and I don’t know him, but I am grateful for his efforts and mission and appreciate the profound effect his words had and continue to have on our family and our family’s friends.
As it turns out, Trisha's son Michael proudly wears the number 43 on his Vanderbilt jersey.