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COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) — Friends, fellow athletes and other classmates of sidelined Columbus East football player Brock Greiwe let him know they're pulling for his recovery, and that his circumstances don't change their relationship one bit.
Since Greiwe had to have his head shaved for a Dec. 5 surgery to remove a brain tumor, about 20 of the high school senior's friends also went under the clippers on Sunday — voluntarily — just before a benefit concert to help with medical expenses was scheduled to begin.
Sporting a little stubble on the top of his freshly shaven head, Connor Roberts told The Republic (http://bit.ly/1GsBw6E ) his new hair style was a way to publicly demonstrate his support for Greiwe, his best friend.
Roberts and others paid $5 each to have their heads shaved the afternoon of the benefit concert by the Cox Family Band at Central Middle School.
"I just felt like I could give something back to him because he's been through a lot," Roberts said. "I just wanted to make him feel more comfortable."
On the field, Roberts and Greiwe were a two-man wrecking crew, making up half of Columbus East's formidable defensive line the past two football seasons. Last year, they helped lead the Olympians to the Class 4A state championship.
This year, however, Greiwe's season ended early after he suffered a seizure two days before the Nov. 14 Class 4A football regional. On Dec. 5, after the football season ended for Columbus East, surgeons removed a tumor from Greiwe's brain.
He spent several days at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis before returning home Dec. 7.
"It was amazing that I was able to get out so early," Greiwe said. "I'm actually recovering very, very well."
Greiwe considered himself fortunate, considering the circumstances, to even have been able to attend Sunday's fundraiser.
"I kind of get lightheaded a little bit if I stand too long," Greiwe said. "I don't know if it's caused by this (surgery), but sometimes I want to sit down just to be safe."
Falling and hitting his head could lead to a setback, he acknowledged.
Keith and Kerry Greiwe said they are thrilled with their son's recovery.
Keith Greiwe spoke to the crowd for a few minutes toward the end of Sunday's concert, as did his son.
"Just from what we went through about a month ago, to be here today and have Brock walking around, it's almost like he's back to normal," Keith Greiwe said.
"What's really neat for me to see is the progression," he said. "Almost every day, you can see him getting better."
The benefit concert was the idea of East senior cheerleader Raegan Leffler, a friend of Greiwe.
After clearing it with the Greiwe family, supporters went about planning a Christmas concert to help cover some of the out-of-pocket medical expenses.
That started with a conversation with Leffler's mother, Kim (Cox) Hyden, a member of the Cox Family Band.
Most years, the band performs during a Christmas concert — but one wasn't planned for this year until Leffler gave them the idea of a benefit.
"I really wanted to help out his family because I think the world of Brock," Leffler said. "We've been friends for quite some time now."
The easiest part was lining up the band.
"I knew that my family would come together and help him," she said.
About 250 people attended Sunday's concert.
Jerry Cox, leader of the Cox Family Band, said the concert raised more than $5,100 for the Greiwe family.
"I can't even fathom how awesome it is that the people put it on," Brock Greiwe said. "I know them, but I don't even know how to repay them."
Brian Wichman, who played football and baseball with Brock Greiwe and now plays baseball at Murray State, is home for the Christmas holiday and was among those to get his head shaved prior to the concert.
"I just thought it was a way to support Brock," Wichman said.
Roberts said he thinks the ordeal has given Greiwe a new perspective on life.
"He's more happy right now, so I'm happy for him," Roberts said.
Greiwe plans to return for the remainder of his senior year when classes resume Jan. 6 after the holiday break.
Information from: The Republic, http://www.therepublic.com/
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