There’s a reason why everyone is talking about Austin Hatch as the week comes to a close.
And it isn’t simply because the 6-6 Loyola High School basketball player hit a 3-point shot in his first game in nearly three years. It’s everything that led up to the moment in the fourth quarter of the game Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Hatch, 19, has survived two airplane crashes eight years apart, crashes that claimed five members of his family. His mother, 5-year-old brother and 11-year-old sister were killed in the first crash; in the second in 2011, his father (the pilot on both flights) and stepmother died and he was seriously injured. In fact, he was so seriously injured that he was in a medically induced coma for nearly two months. When he hit his three, Coach Jamal Adams and Hatch’s teammates stormed the court and Loyola was slapped with a technical.
“It was the best technical foul I’ve ever been a part of,” Adams told Los Angeles Times after Loyola’s 87-59 victory. ” … 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.”
In the second crash, Hatch suffered head injuries, broken ribs and collarbone and a punctured lung, according to ESPN, and had to relearn how to walk and talk. In August, he moved from his Fort Wayne, Ind., home to Los Angeles to live with his uncle and was practicing with the team all fall. On Wednesday, he took his big, emotional trey in stride.
As I said after the game, my three was pretty cool, but, more importantly, we're now 14-0
— Austin Hatch (@ahatch33) January 9, 2014
The second crash occurred after Hatch’s father decided to fly the family to their vacation home to celebrate his son’s verbal commitment to Michigan, which intends to honor the commitment. Hatch’s Twitter bio sums it up nicely: “A man’s true character is revealed by his response to adversity. I don’t think I deserved what happened 3 years ago, but I’m gonna be fine. Go Blue.”