Family of Lindenwood University athlete struck by car speak about son’s recovery, outpouring of support
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - It was all cheers and celebrations in a video shared by 18-year-old Noah Berger’s family when he scored for his lacrosse team at Lindenwood University during a game in late March.
“Noah started playing lacrosse when he was eight years old,” said Jim Berger, Noah’s father. “He fell in love with the game. His brother started [playing] a year earlier.”
“We came to visit Lindenwood on a lacrosse recruiting tour,” said Denise Berger, Noah’s mother. “He just fell in love with the campus, and the atmosphere and the facilities, and couldn’t wait to play lacrosse here.”
Those celebrations have now shifted to prayers and hope as the Minnesota native faces his toughest fight outside of the lacrosse field.
“We didn’t find out a whole lot in the beginning, but when we got to the hospital, half his team showed up immediately to the ER,” said Denise.
Noah was struck by a car while walking back to his dorm Saturday night. It was the same night heavy rain and tornado warnings swept across the Metro.
His parents were staying at a hotel in St. Charles, visiting from Minnesota to watch him play in a lacrosse game. They have now been at the SSM Health DePaul Hospital ever since.
“We got the news yesterday that he has a traumatic brain injury, and it will be a very long road. They tell us it could be six months to a year,” said Denise.
“They’ve got him heavily sedated, so it can be loosely termed as a medically induced coma,” said Jim. “They’re going to keep him that way again today. Until he can maintain his brain pressures on his own, they’ll most likely keep him this way.”
St. Charles police tell News 4 they responded to the incident at 12:45 a.m. the night of the incident, which happened just outside of campus on Kingshighway and Watson Streets.
Police said the initial report indicated the driver had a green light when the incident happened. At the time, Noah was wearing dark clothing, and the driver, who stayed at the scene, said she did not see Noah crossing the street.
“I think the biggest thing is making sure that girl is okay. We can’t imagine what she’s going through,” said Denise.
While Noah’s parents say they are not aware of all the details surrounding that night, their focus is on their son’s long journey to making a recovery. Denise said, thankfully, he did not sustain any other injuries beyond his brain injury.
“He’s a fighter,” said Denise. “Keep the prayers and support coming because we believe it’s helping.”
To them, it has become even clearer how much Noah impacted the community he built at Lindenwood University in such a short time.
Anybody who meets Noah just instantly falls in love with him,” said Denise. “He’s always kind of like the social glue of his team, kind of trying to keep all the guys together outside of the locker room and off the field.”
Now, his team is coming together for him after they help create a GoFundMe in his name. In less than 48 hours, the page has surpassed more than $70,000 dollars
“We’ve got people coming on there that don’t know no one. They don’t know us, but they understand the situation and are willing to help,” said Jim. “It’s amazing.”
“The amount of support we have received here in St. Charles, back home in Minnesota and across the country with the lacrosse community has just been nothing short of amazing,” said Denise. “And the university has also been extremely supportive. The president himself called me, the athletic director, his coach has been daily conversations [and] also making sure his team’s okay.”
The university also granted Noah’s family a place to stay near campus while he remains in the hospital.
“It is really nice to know how well he is liked and loved,” said Jim.
Once Noah can safely wake up from being heavily sedated and start rehabilitation for his brain injury, the family hopes to bring him to a specialized facility in Chicago.
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