A 17-year-old from northern Indiana who was embraced by the Notre Dame football team starting in 2012 as he battled a rare form of malignant bone cancer flipped the coin before the Fighting Irish faced Wake Forest on Saturday.  

Sam Grewe, of Middlebury, 25 miles east of South Bend, had his right leg amputated above the knee in spring 2012. The football team heard about Grewe and “adopted” him in a ceremony where all players wore “Grewe Crew” T-shirts. He attended all the home games as the Irish went 12-0 during the regular season that year and he led the Irish in singing the fight song in the locker room after the final home game.

Grewe inspired linebacker Joe Schmidt to establish a Notre Dame chapter of Uplifting Athletes, an organization of student-athletes raising awareness and research funds for rare diseases. Grewe has osteosarcoma. Schmidt said he’s developed a “cool friendship” with Grewe and the two bumped fists before flipping the coin.

“I mean, he's one of the boys. He's a great dude. He's a world champion, and so I think just seeing how he's kind of overcome his obstacles, which makes any of ours look like child's play,” Schmidt said on Wednesday.