High School Basketball Player Austin Hatch Completes Comeback, Returns to Court After 2011 Plane Crash
Austin Hatch was emerging as an elite high school basketball player in 2011, when a plane crash seriously injured him, seemingly bringing the 16-year old's hoops aspirations to a screeching halt. But Hatch defied the odds Wednesday night(1/8) and returned to the court, completing a miraculous return to the sport he loves.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Austin returned to the court after a grueling 2 1/2 year recovery from surviving his second - yes, second - plane crash. The first happened in 2003. The two crashes combined killed his entire immediate family, and the second nearly killed him. He talked about the recovery process in a press conference in November:
13 games into his senior season, he finally made it back onto the court, and drained a 3-pointer on his first shot in three years. Hatch's coach Jamal Adams said:
"He hit a three and our bench erupted. It was unbelievable what that kid has gone through and how hard he's worked. That kid has taught me you can come back from anything, that nothing is impossible. It was a spiritual moment."
Hatch's second plane crash came a week after Hatch had committed to play college basketball at Michigan. The plane, piloted by his father, crashed, killing his dad and stepmother. Austin survived, but was seriously injured and placed in a medically-induced coma to recover from brain and other injuries.
Michigan has stood by Austin and are committed to honoring their scholarship offer. As a Wolverines fan, I look forward to following his career closely, whether he gets meaningful playing time for the team or not. Already, his story has the ESPY Perseverance Award written all over it. Here's hoping it continues.