The mother of Harley-Anne Laub — the 16-year-old Golden Valley High School student-athlete struck by a car last month on Sierra Highway — has said that, despite the doctors’ best efforts, her daughter’s leg needed to be amputated Sunday.
But although Laub lost her weeks-long battle to keep her leg, she remained “one tough cookie” following the successful weekend surgery and still had “high spirits” due in large part to an outpouring of support from her friends, soccer teammates and local community members.
On July 28, Laub was riding home on her scooter when at approximately 8 p.m. a vehicle heading southbound on Sierra Highway near Dockweiler Drive struck her. With the help of first responders and civilian passerby’s, the 16-year-old was immediately transported to the hospital and diagnosed with extensive injuries, especially to her right leg.
Initially doctors had made the decision, given her age, to do all they could to not immediately amputate, hoping that the unresponsive nerves below her right knee would improve as they did tissue reconstruction and arterial grafts, said Rachael Angle, Laub’s mother.
However, on Friday, Laub’s team of orthopedic, neuro and vascular surgeons agreed that the graft they had previously worked on was clotting extensively, and there was too much inflammation on her surrounding tissue.
“They basically said there’s nothing they can do for the limb and they’re going to have to amputate it,” said Angle.
On Sunday, surgeons removed five inches from below her knee with plans to monitor her progress in the coming days to ensure the operation worked, according to Angle. If they notice the muscles and tissue are starting to get necrotic, they have to amputate again, but a little higher.
“They try to save as much bone and muscle as possible just to support a prosthesis,” said Angle. “The more bone that you have for weight bearing on the prosthesis, the better it is.”
Angle said the current timeline shows her daughter getting out of the hospital in approximately two weeks, depending on the surgeries and how her body reacts. She also said her daughter — despite losing the leg and there still being the possibility of more surgeries down the road — continues to show high spirits.
“It was kind of shocking at first, like, ‘Holy cow,’ because she said, ‘I’m done,’” Angle said, referring to the fact that her daughter had accepted the need for amputation. “She’s been in so much excruciating pain that she was ready for it,” said Angle. “She’s one of those tough cookies that will say she’s doing great, she’s OK, but on the inside there’s just heartache and heartbreak.
“But she just wanted to be done with the pain … and so her spirits, our spirits, are still high,” Angle added.
Laub’s mother said that a large part of her daughter’s strength over the past few weeks has been drawn from the support she has received from her friends and fellow Santa Clarita Valley residents.
Earlier this month, a GoFundMe was established and a restaurant fundraiser was organized at Wicked Chicken on Golden Valley Road, with the proceeds from each going to assist Laub in her recovery.
One of the biggest gestures the 16-year-old soccer player received, her mother said on Monday, entailed her fellow Grizzly soccer teammates taking the time to sign her practice jersey that was then sent to Laub in the hospital.
On the jersey were written each girls’ prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery for the girl that is considered “the rock” of her team, according to Golden Valley Coach Michael House.
“She’s a battler, she’s a warrior, she’s a fighter we just wanted to let her know that we have her back, and we’re there for her for whatever she needs,” said House. “The girls respect her; they listen to her and she’s a big cheerleader for them and that’s one of the biggest reasons why girls really like her.”
House said he had suggested that Laub be a coach when she grows up due to her ability to bring the team together and support one another, even when the 16-year-old isn’t on the field.
“It’s a really special group of girls,” said House.
“It was really nice of Coach House … just because the mental support she can get right now is more than anything,” said Angle.
When asked what would happen to Laub’s spot on the team, given that the team tryouts and rosters will be decided this week, House said she wasn’t going anywhere.
“She’s still a part of this team,” said House. “They’ll find out what team they’re on Thursday, but she will still be part of the team.”
Those wishing to contribute to Laub’s recovery can find more information and contact information at her GoFundMe page: https://bit.ly/3yTqKaN. The family said they were also still looking for a contractor or handyman that may be able to assist them with installing handrails and a ramp at their home.