Go Blue Offers Four Year Scholarship to Plane Crash Survivor

Go Blue Offers Four Year Scholarship to Two Time Plane Crash Survivor

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The basketball coach at University of Michigan signed 19 year old Austin Hatch to a full ride in 2014.  What's remarkable about that?  In high school in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, he was a standout player.  He'd been recruited to the Go Blue in 2011 as a sophomore, but then the plane his father was piloting crashed in Michigan.  Hatch was the sole survivor.  His father and stepmother died.  Tragic, for sure, but this wasn't Hatch's first plane crash.  In 2003, another plane his father was piloting crashed, that time killing his mother and two siblings.  Today, he's a senior at Loyola High School in Los Angeles.  He moved here to take advantage of the state of the art medical resources and live with his Uncle. 

Hatch suffered traumatic brain injury, a broken collarbone and a punctured lung.  He was put into a medically induced coma for eight weeks.  When he finally woke up, he found out his dad, the man he calls his best friend, mentor and number one fan was dead.  He then vowed to play ball again.  There were plenty of naysayers, but Austin had the fortitude and the faith to push himself out of a wheelchair and back on the court.  His coach, Jamal Adams says there are flashes of the former star player.  But, what used to be instinctive, Hatch needs to re-learn.  If anyone can do it, bet on Austin.  At one point, he re-learned how to eat, how to walk, how to breathe.  I asked, Austin if he credits basketball for bringing himself to this point in his recovery and he said, no. 

Basketball was a goal, but even without it, he believes he is the kind of guy who would work to overcome the challenges before him.  And, its not just trying to regain his physical prowess, he's also working on regaining his mental cognition.  He says, academics come first then basketball.  He hopes to graduate Big Blue pre-med.  He is an inspiration to be sure and how remarkable that Michigan honored its original commitment to him.  Can he play at college level?  Austin says, not until he's a true asset to the team. Meantime, the coach told him he believes in him and he'll find a role for him, even if as a manager or just to practice with the team.  PS check out Austin's twitter feed.    https://twitter.com/ahatch33

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