COLUMBUS, Ind. (June 10, 2015) -- In the midst of his recovery from a car accident that caused a traumatic brain injury, Columbus North's Josh Speidel returned to his home court.
Hundreds gathered in the high school's gym Wednesday night for an Indiana All-Star exhibition game.
Speidel suited up and joined his All-Star teammates from across the state, met by a standing ovation from the crowd. It was his first time back on the court that served as his second home for so long.
"He didn’t have a chance to play on this floor the last time, so he gets to walk out on the floor, be with his team," said Speidel's father, Dave.
It's been a whirlwind week for Speidel, who graduated high school alongside his classmates and then geared up for two games with the team this week.
For his parents, it's been a long road full of #JoshStrong support at every turn.
"It’s overwhelming, all the time overwhelming, just everybody thinking about us, prayers and we got here through faith. There’s no doubt in my mind and we keep improving every day," Dave Speidel said.
For fans like Lauren James, who plays basketball at Seymour, Josh's story struck a cord.
"When I heard about it, it was devastating because, I mean, what if that happened to me? I’m getting ready to drive and everything and I can’t imagine just losing everything in a split second," James said.
The night, though, was about the game and being back where Speidel is most comfortable. He watched his teammates from the bench and joined in on huddles.
"I wish I was playing, but we're going to win," Speidel said before the game.
Even though his seniors didn't pull out the win, it was a special night for everyone at the school. The Indiana Basketball Coaches Association presented Speidel with a photo of him in his All-Stars uniform before the game and dozens of people, including friends, greeted him on the sideline.
"(It's) amazing the support, people that have come up and talked with us. ... Thank you, thank you," Dave Speidel said.