Pleasant Grove and Briarwood high schools have announced plans to “Stand Up for Ben” on October 27 prior to the Spartans and Lions varsity football game. The two schools are asking AHSAA member schools to join them in this endeavor.
Ben Abercrombie, a 2017 graduate of Hoover High School and a freshman on the Harvard University football team, sustained a serious neck injury in his first collegiate game versus Rhode Island on September 16 that currently has left him paralyzed.
Pleasant Grove head football coach and athletic director Jim Elgin is asking other AHSAA schools at their own games to join the Spartans and Lions Friday night with a show of support for improving health of Ben. A special “Stand Up for Ben!” cheer will be held at 6:45 p.m., he said.
“We hope on Friday, October 27, at 6:40 p.m., that everyone in the AHSAA will join us and Stand Up for Ben with their thoughts and prayers and charitable contributions if they so choose,” Elgin said. “Marty and Sherri Abercrombie, Ben’s parents, are graduates of Pleasant Grove High School, and as a school and community we see this as a way to help them in their time of need,” Elgin said. “(Coach Fred Yancey and) the Briarwood family has graciously agreed to help in our endeavor to raise awareness and funds to assist the family.”
According to recent report on WBRC TV Fox 6, Ben is out of the Intensive Care Unit at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center and he is continuing to recover, based on a report at CaringBridge update posted by Ben’s father.
"Ben is doing better," said Christopher Cole, who is a close family friend. "We actually got some really good news that Ben is out of the ICU. He's actually now in a rehab room at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta."
Elgin described the step-by-step plans they will set in motion Friday.
The festivities at Spartans Stadium Friday night will get underway at 6:15 p.m. with fans, bands and cheerleaders sitting on the home side of the field in assigned seats. The two teams will join their classmates on the home sideline and sit in designated areas. At 6:35 p.m., the public address announcer will open with remarks about the purpose of the ceremony
At 6:30 p.m., members of both teams will enter the stands and sit in the area marked in front of their bands. The public address announcer will open with remarks about Ben Abercrombie and his family and the reason for the evening’s events. At this time, Ben’s father Marty Abercrombie will join head coaches Elgin and Yancey on the field for a presentation of the ceremonial game ball.
At approximately 6:45 p.m., after a special moment of reflection dedicated to a speedy recovery for Ben and the needs of Ben and his family, the announcer will ask all in attendance, on the count of three, to follow the cheerleaders’ lead. In unison on the count of three, they will all stand and cheer “Stand Up for Ben!”
Elgin said he hopes fans and teams in stadiums across Alabama will stand with them at this exact time in a show of unity.
The program will conclude with the Pleasant Grove band playing the school’s fight song as the teams return to their dressing rooms or warm-ups and the visiting band, cheerleaders and fans move to their own side of the stadium. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m., as planned.
“There is so much power that comes when all of us are praying for the same purpose,” Elgin said. “I want to thank all the schools in advance who plan to join us Friday night.”
A special fund has been set up for Ben at Regions Bank locations across the state. For more information, contact Elgin at Pleasant Grove High School.
To see more about the event, check out the video link at WBRC: