Brock Greiwe received some great news.
He had a dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor.
While that might seem to be devastating information for an 18-year-old high school senior, it was far better than the alternatives. A “DNET” tumor is benign.
“That’s the best kind to have if you are going to have one,” said Greiwe, who had surgery to cut out most of the “pinky-sized” tumor in November. “Now I am waiting for my skull to heal up.”
Greiwe, one of the state’s top high school defensive linemen at Columbus East, was rushed to the hospital after a seizure at his home Nov. 12 and was later diagnosed with the brain tumor. It took weeks, though, to identify the exact nature of the tumor.
So not only was Greiwe’s high school football career finished as the Olympians headed toward a semistate showdown with eventual champion New Palestine, but his very life was in danger.
Whether Greiwe ever could play football again was in question.
Now, just under three months since his seizure, Greiwe’s life is getting back on track.
On Wednesday, he took a major step during a ceremony at Columbus East by signing a letter of intent to play football at Indiana State.
As Greiwe has worked to rehabilitate his body, his chances of playing college football got brighter. On Jan. 25, he received offers from Indiana State and Marian University to play football.
It all made for an enthusiastic celebration Wednesday as Greiwe chose the Sycamores.
“There was one point where I didn’t think I would have any opportunities,” he said. “Then in the same day, in less than a two-hour period, I had offers from Indiana State and Marian.
“I think they were waiting to see how I would recover, and I had to wait it out. It just means a lot to me to see how other people believe in my abilities. They see something in me and they are willing to take a chance.”
It’s easy to see why Indiana State decided to take a chance. Greiwe was a starter on East’s state championship team as a junior, and he came back to register 64 tackles in 11 games his senior year. He had 13 tackles for loss, and East never lost a game the past two seasons with him in the lineup.
However, East football coach Bob Gaddis said more than football was involved in Indiana State’s decision to take a chance on a player who was recovering from a brain tumor.
Gaddis said it had to do with character.
“It speaks well of the kind of player and person Brock is,” Gaddis said. “People are willing to take a chance on him even though they understand that he is not yet released to play (football). He is just now working out, and he has cleared that hurdle.
“It is going to be great to see where he was and where he is going.”
Greiwe’s father, Keith Greiwe, said it has been an emotionally draining experience.
“I want to say it has been a long road, but it really hasn’t been,” Keith Griewe said. “We met with the (Indiana State) coaches, and they are aware of what Brock has gone through. They will help us with the journey he is on. I feel good about it.”
Brock Greiwe said he must redshirt his freshman year of college to allow his skull time to heal properly. But he will be able to run through drills without contact.
“It is going to take a while to get back to the level where I was,” Greiwe said. “But I think signing has gotten me over the hump. I don’t have to wonder if I will always have to live with this or ‘What if?'”
His father said he is comfortable with his son playing football again.
“We will be assured it is safe before he plays,” Keith Greiwe said. “And Brock is such a motivated individual. I think when you have something taken away from you, you work even harder.”
Two weeks ago, Brock Greiwe had to spend a night in the hospital, but the problems appear to have been medicine related, and he is now off all medication. “My brain waves are back to normal,” he said.
His concentration will turn to regaining his physical conditioning and earning a mechanical engineering degree.
“I’m not worried,” he said. “I’m excited. I’ve always wanted to play college football.”