UPDATE: Teen critically injured before graduation wakes from coma

Published On: May 14 2014 05:31:43 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 02 2014 11:54:17 AM CDT

Family and friends of a Lakin teen critically injured in a car accident the day before graduation say he is out of a coma.

Joe Seeger was life-flighted to a Wichita hospital on May 10. He was set to graduate on May 11.

Now that Joe is awake, he is being transferred to a facility in Lincoln, Neb. that specializes in brain injury therapy.

Family members have setup a Facebook page to document Joe's progress, called "Praying for Joe". They are also collecting donations to help offset Joe's medical costs and various other expenses at Kearny County Bank and online at "Proud and Praying for Joe."


Joe Seeger was supposed to walk across his high school graduation stage Sunday.

"He was really excited to go walk and get his diploma, walk away from high school and never have to turn back again," said Joe's brother, Jason Seeger.

But Joe did not get that chance. The day before, while on his way to meet friends, Joe lost control of his car on a dirt road and rolled.

"We got a phone call about 10 o'clock that he'd been in a pretty nasty car accident," Jason said.

Joe, a Lakin fireman, is now in ICU at a Wichita hospital. Family members say he is breathing through a ventilator and in a coma.

A slew of friends and family are waiting at the hospital and hoping for a sign of recovery.

"I feel in my heart that he does hear us," Jason said. "His heart rate goes up when we talk about certain things and it just makes me feel like he's understanding. He knows that we're there."

The 18-year-old country boy, who spends his days hunting, fishing, and fighting fires, is now fighting for his life.

"Just hoping for a full recovery, that he comes back and he's still got his speech and motor skills," Jason said. "He's a really good shot with a rifle and hopefully he's still got a dead eye."

As Joe's brother and his family try to keep a positive perspective, they hope others cherish moments they may never get back.

"Just don't take life for granted," Jason said. "Things can change in a drop of a dime. One day everything is fine, the next minute your life's upside down."

A fund has been setup to help with Joe's medical expenses at Kearny County Bank. You can also donate online by clicking here.