The odds of getting in a plane crash are 1 in 1.2 million; the odds of getting a Division 1 college basketball scholarship are slightly higher, but still much less than 1%. University of Michigan freshman Austin Hatch conquered both of these seemingly insurmountable odds, now a scholarship athlete on the Wolverines men’s basketball team after surviving not one but two airplane accidents. Just nine days after accepting head coach John Beilein’s scholarship offer in the summer of 2011, then-high school junior Hatch was involved in a plane accident that left both his father & stepmother dead. Hatch’s father had remarried since the 2003 plane crash that claimed the lives of his biological mother, Julie, as well as his 11-year-old sister Lindsay & his 5-year-old brother Ian. Though he managed to escape relatively unscathed from the first accident, Austin entered a medically induced coma following the 2011 crash.
Nobly, coach Beilein & the Wolverines honored Hatch’s scholarship offer. Yesterday Austin Hatch proudly wore maize & blue during a 99-60 Wolverines victory in an exhibition game in Rome, Italy. Despite a brief three-minute stint that yielded nothing more than participation time for the box score, those unfamiliar with the 19-year-old’s story likely didn’t think twice about his performance. But for Hatch, the mere fact that he stepped on the court allowed him to realize his childhood dream of playing college basketball for the Michigan Wolverines; no matter how familiar he is with loss, there is nobody that can ever take Sunday’s feat away from him.