Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 24, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 52 of 55 SEPT. 24, 2018 53 WHERE HAVE YOU GONE? ers," Kelly recalled, "in the sense that it wasn't hard to go out there and practice and show grit, show deter- mination and toughness after what this young man had gone through." From that point on, nothing got in the way of Grewe's passion for Irish football. As part of his game-day routine, Grewe would often haul around a 10-pound backpack on the sidelines loaded with the necessary IV fluids to be dripped during the game. "We, by no means, understood the magnitude of the impact this rela- tionship with the team would have," said Sam's mother, Michelle Grewe. "It became a strong motivation for him getting up, getting out of bed, getting healthy. It might have been a Saturday game and we'd get out of the hospital on Friday after a week of chemo. "If we would've been home, he would've been on the couch all weekend, understandably so, but we'd load up the vehicle, he'd puke a few times and he'd be ready to go because he had that motivation to get out there with the team." The 2012 season for Notre Dame ended with a trip to Miami and a spot in the national championship game, and of course Sam Grewe and his family were there for all of it. "That season," Grewe said, "built a foundation for me to succeed while also showing the players not to take things for granted, not to take their situation for granted and to appreci- ate where they are." A HIGH BAR Now 20 years old, Grewe has come and gone a long way since his ampu- tation surgery almost seven years ago. Upon recovery, Grewe earned a spot on his basketball team at North- ridge High School. He also took up lacrosse and he eventually joined his high school track and field team as a high jumper, quickly becoming a very good one. So good, in fact, that in less than two years studying under the tute- lage of Goshen (Ind.) College track coach Kyle Mishler, Grewe went from a newbie in the event, to a 2015 U.S. Paralympic National Team member, then to a world championship quali- fier in Doha, Qatar, then to a stunning gold medalist in those world champi- onships as the youngest and lowest- seeded participant at the meet. "That was actually the biggest step in doing what I do because that made me realize there is a future. I could be one of the best," said Grewe, still filled with amazement at his overnight suc- cess. "It was very unexpected." Grewe's winning jump at the world championships of 1.81 meters (5.94 feet) in the T42 event (above the knee amputees) shattered his personal best by five inches and vaulted him onto the international scene and into a spot on the U.S. National Team for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. "Everything kind of clicked for him right then at the right time," Mishler said. Grewe made good again and fol- lowed his surprising gold medal at the world championships with a sil- ver medal at the Rio games with a jump of 1.86 meters (6.10 feet). Beaming with confidence, Grewe returned to international competition last fall at the 2017 World Champi- onships in London and struck more gold, matching his Rio jump of 1.86 meters. Less than four years of big-time competition and three international events, Grewe secured two golds and one silver and tapped endless poten- tial. So what's next? With 2018 essentially an idle year on the four-year international track and field cycle, Grewe is taking some downtime to focus on school, work a few hours each week at a local equip- ment rental shop and just be a regular college student. Next year, Grewe will be back to work to begin his chase for a world record in the high jump, a mark set at 1.95 meters (6.40 feet). Grewe's official personal record is listed at 1.86 meters (6.10 feet). "Sam's mental toughness is far be- yond his years," Mishler said. "That toughness has helped him tremen- dously in everything he has done af- ter beating cancer." Grewe admits that being a second- year pre-med major at Notre Dame — studying oncology, of course — is every bit as difficult as he expected. But we're talking about Sam Grewe, so is there any reason to think he won't survive and excel after every- thing he has already conquered? "Throughout this entire story there has been a lot of fear, fear of what's going to happen next, fear of the fu- ture," said Grewe, who is fittingly adding volunteer work at Memorial Hospital to his career curriculum. "I think persistence is the biggest thing I've learned. Persistence, and using a great mindset, and staying posi- tive can bring an outcome that you couldn't have expected. "Where I am now I would never in a million years go back and change." ✦ Grewe, now a 20-year-old sophomore pre-med major at Notre Dame, has captured three medals in the high jump at big-time international events — two golds plus a silver at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. PHOTO BY RUSS DRAPER PHOTOGRAPHY

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