Austin Hatch scored a single free throw in a 43-point blowout win for Michigan on Monday night, nothing spectacular on face value but wait until you learn the remarkable and traumatic story of the 20-year-olds journey to this point in his life.
Hatch sunk his second free throw of two attempts and the crowd attending the contest erupted, the player was then mauled by teammates who celebrated with every ounce of passion they had.
For Hatch is a double plane crash survivor, the first in 2003 took the life of his mother and two siblings, whilst eight years later another air disaster would kill his father and stepmother.
A transcendent moment was shared between coach and player after the meaningful bucket, Hatch slowly jogged off the court to greet head coach John Beilein with a hug, for he had suffered many years of sadness and hardship.
When speaking of his desire to keep playing the game of basketball, the young man exclaimed not long ago:
"The emotional pain is never going to subside, Over time, the way I cope with my loss is going to change."
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Clinging to a dream
Hatch was a great basketball player from an early age and a high school standout at Canterbury High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
He averaged 23 points and nine rebounds per game in High school, he then verbally committed to his father's alma matter the Michigan Wolverines, shortly before the devastating tragedy in 2011 which took his father from him.
His family life was decapitated by disaster but his general health had also seriously been damaged, after the second plane crash Hatch was left with fractured ribs, punctured lung and a brain injury which left him in a coma for two months.
Left with incredible physical and mental damage the 17-year-old at the time would have to once again learn how to eat, breathe and walk.
He rehabilitated and continued his dream of playing college ball, he re-entered the court in high school and sunk his very first three point attempt after returning from his plane crash injuries.
Scoring for Michigan
Michigan honoured the scholarship they had awarded Hatch and the team had a roster spot available for the player in the 2014/15.
The freshman guard entered the Monday night Exhibition game late into the fourth quarter and was able to fulfil a basketball dream by scoring a point for his college with 12 seconds remaining in the contest.
Hatch overcome by emotion afterwards said:
“Since my childhood days, you know, when I was just a little kid playing in the driveway, envisioning myself counting down the clock, 5 seconds left in the game … 3, 2, 1 … and I shoot it and win the game, Obviously, it didn’t win the game tonight, but after all that I’ve been through, it was a pretty special moment for a lot of people.”
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