Columbus basketball star recovering in rehab facility, community stays ‘#JoshStrong’

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 7, 2015)– A star basketball player from Columbus North High School continues to recover at a rehabilitation hospital in Indianapolis.

"His eyes are open a lot more than they are closed. He follows what happens in the room, turning his head," explained mother Lisa Speidel.

Josh Speidel suffered a serious brain injury after a crash on Sunday, Feb. 1 in Bartholomew County. Since then, the community has come together to help with medical costs. A crowdfunding page was launched by Josh's classmate, Keirsten White, and has raised more than $74,000. People have been using #JoshStrong on social media to show their support.

"It helps us so much to know that people haven`t forgotten about Josh or us and are still praying for us," said mother Lisa Speidel.

Speidel is recovering at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana. He works with a therapist nearly three hours a day on physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Speidel is working on strengthening his muscles and re-learning how to talk.

"He is not saying words we understand yet. But we can see him trying. I can`t wait to hear his voice. To say that 'I love you' or say 'mom,'" said Lisa Speidel.

Josh Speidel

Josh Speidel

"I talk words to him all the time. Say basketball, say Dad, say Mom say I love you. Just waiting for that something to come out," added father Dave Speidel,

The Speidels say they’ve also received so much support from the University of Vermont, where Josh has a scholarship to play basketball after graduation. They said they read Josh every Tweet, Facebook message and card they receive, and his dad even sings to him.

"We see something different every day. They may be so small but they are huge for us. They are huge for him," said Lisa Speidel.

This past weekend the coach from the University of Vermont visited and brought Speidel a part of the team uniform.

"I see God in a lot of this, the outreach and the support. Josh is touching a lot of lives," said father Dave Speidel.

Josh Speidel was chosen as an Indiana All Star this year. It's an honor he earned before the accident.

Proceeds raised at Tuesday's South Central All-Area All Star Game in Columbus will go towards the #JoshStrong fund.