CBS News Correspondent Kelly Cobiella reports this healthy, strong 15-year-old football player had the flu for days - then suddenly couldn't breathe.
His father, Chad Duvall,"He was panting like a dog, really fighting for his breath."
Doctors confirmed Luke had H1N1 and for reasons they don't fully understand, the virus attacked him with an intensity rarely seen in someone who was healthy.
"He did have moments when he was really sick enough and there was concern if he didn't improve he could die from this disease," said Dr. Jerril Green of Arkansas Children's Hospital.
Doctors are seeing more cases like Luke's. Seventy-five patients have tested positive for H1N1 at Arkansas Children's Hospital since August. Seventeen of them, like Luke, ended up in the pediatric intensive care unit. Just last month, there were more H1N1 patients in the unit than were admitted all last year for the regular flu.
At this particular hospital, three children have died. After 16 days on a ventilator doctors decided Friday it was time for Luke to breathe on his own.
In the privacy of Luke's hospital room, doctors removed the breathing tube. 20 minutes later, Luke was trying to talk.
"We can see the end of the road from here. And it's been a long time since we could see the end of the road," said Chad.
Doctors say it will take weeks for Luke to build up his strength again. But his dad is predicting his son will be back on the pitcher's mound come spring.