Despite dozens of hours of surgery, bone and skin grafts, a leg amputation among additional procedures, the toughest part of the recovery process for Harley Anne Laub, the beloved 16-year-old who lost her leg in a Santa Clarita car accident, seems to be psychological.
On Sunday morning, Harley and her family attended the most recent Golden Valley High School soccer game to watch the team she was supposed to be playing on if it weren’t for the accident, but the event didn’t spark the encouraging outcome they had hoped.
“You can see it in her eyes,” her mother said. “She wishes she could be out there.”
Despite her amputation, Harley was promised a spot on the girls’ varsity soccer team for when she decided to come back, according to Michael House, her previous soccer coach.
“She might not be out there, but watching videos of her moving and trying to get around, we wouldn’t be surprised if she’s in soccer again soon. We all know how she is and how determined she gets,” laughed House in a previous KHTS article. “If you tell Harley she can’t do anything she’ll prove you wrong. That’s Harley right there.”
Harley has since expressed to her family that returning to soccer may not be in the cards for the 16-year-old and has instead expressed more of an interest in other old hobbies like dirt biking and wakeboarding, much more independent-based sports.
“It has been emotionally draining,” Harley’s mother said. “She has a lot of psychological setbacks and fear that she’s never going to be able to do what she used to. Everyone has been so encouraging, but the last month or so has been challenging.”
Approximately three months ago on July 28, Harley was riding a scooter with a friend when she had been struck by a vehicle on the intersection of Sierra Highway and Dockweiler Drive, according to deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
When emergency responders arrived on scene, personnel applied a tourniquet to the critical patient, before transporting her to the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, an hour before Sheriff’s deputies called the family to inform them that their daughter had been hospitalized.
“They just said she had been in an accident, it looked like her leg had been hurt very badly and to get to the hospital,” her mother said. “I didn’t know it was that severe until I actually got to see her.”
She had sustained a major injury to her right lower leg including two breaks and a severed artery alongside one break and two fractures in her pelvis, two collapsed lungs and multiple rib fractures, according to the family.
Little did the family know that the recovery would not just be a physical process.
“There’s a lot of issues with trying to fit back in,” Harley’s mother said. “In counseling, they noticed she’s been showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
Harley has not only been navigating life under physically different circumstances, but has also been forced to adjust to online school, apart from friends, as she recovers.
“In the morning, we have a schedule. Get up at 6:30 a.m. Get ready for online school at 7 a.m. Log on at 8 a.m.,” Harley’s mother said. “Of course, this is on days where we don’t have to travel to LA for orthopedics and neurosurgery, pain management or physical therapy.”
Harley completes at least six major assignments per day as she catches up on all the lessons she could not be present for due to the accident.
“She’s eleven weeks behind in school and she is doing the absolute best she can to catch up,” Harley’s mother said. “Next week will be her first real week back to in-person school.”
For the rest of the year, Harley has enrolled in Bowman High School, a much smaller campus to navigate with crutches or a wheelchair, to catch up on credits, but is expected to transfer back to Golden Valley High School by her senior year.
Harley’s friends at Golden Valley High School have been missing her and her “personality that draws others in” dearly.
“She is the biggest role model for her age group. She’s sweet, she’s a warrior, she’s just a great kid,” House said. “You don’t get kids like that every day. If she crosses your path you know it because she’s just a ball of light, there’s an aura around her, and that’s why she has so many friends.”
Laub is in need of specialized equipment to continue doing the activities she enjoys with an amputated leg, including wakeboarding and dirt biking.
Although her insurance would cover a standard prosthetic leg, it would not pay for more specialized prosthetics that would allow her to participate in athletics.
To contribute to Harley’s GoFundMe as she recovers, click here.