He’s a motivator. He’s an inspiration. He’s a Michigan Man.Advertisement
You may have heard of Michigan Basketball’s Austin Hatch, who survived two plane crashes. For Austin, his incredible story of perseverance is only just beginning.
Posted by Michigan Wolverines on 247Sports on Saturday, March 24, 2018
“He’s a motivator. He’s an inspiration. He’s a Michigan Man.” Michigan Wolverines on 247Sports
Yes, Austin Hatch is that Michigan Man who has miraculously survived not one but two tragic plane crashes in his life. The first occurring in 2003, claiming the lives of his mother, Julie; brother, Ian; and sister, Lindsay. And, in 2011, Hatch lost his father, Stephen, and stepmother, Kimberly in a second deadly crash — nearly losing his own life.
I can’t imagine living through that nightmare of losing my mother and siblings, but, remarkably, Austin’s fortitude pushed him to excel as a star basketball player at Canterbury School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In June of 2011, that strength of will resulted in the unexpected blessing of receiving the call that would change the course of his life; a dream offer of a full-ride basketball scholarship to his late mother’s alma mater and his ultimate school of choice, the incomparable University of Michigan. Adding the cherry on top, it was delivered personally by Coach John Beilein.
But, his joy was not to last for once again, fate interceded and just nine days after he committed to Michigan, he would endure the horrific crash that left him in a coma with numerous broken bones and a traumatic brain injury. He wouldn’t wake up for eight weeks, and prospects of a normal life seemed slim. But, Hatch was not only determined to return to normalcy, he intended to fight for the lifelong dream of a basketball career.
It took two years of intense rehabilitation for Austin to re-learn how to walk, eat, and even breathe but, he kept his faith and began his hard-fought journey which turned out to be a lot different than the one he had previously envisioned; for Austin, his incredible story of perseverance was only just beginning.
Despite not being physically able to compete on the team, Coach Beilein honored his scholarship and Austin took on the role of a student assistant, a motivator, and an inspiring role-model for the team. On Senior Day in February, Austin entered Crisler Center to a rousing ovation as he was honored by his basketball teammates; dressing for the game against Ohio State and participating in warmups one final time.
As a fellow Wolverine, my heart filled with pride reading about this remarkable young man’s story and I can personally attest to the fact that the “Maize and Blue” fosters an amazing atmosphere for establishing relationships that stay with you your entire life.
In Austin’s own words:“I don’t think it’s an accident that I ended up at a place like Michigan, and there’s no better man (Coach Beilein) that I could play for and have an opportunity to learn from. He really taught me more about life. Obviously, a good coach wins basketball games, and you can see the results that way and the impact he has on his team. But the impact he has on developing his players as young men, I definitely have learned a lot and have grown as a man. I’ll take lessons I learned from him with me the rest of my life.”
Congratulations Austin! – #HailtotheVictors and #GoBlue!