When he was just eight years old, Austin Hatch's mother and two siblings were killed after the small plane, in which he was also seated, his father Dr Stephen Hatch was flying crashed upon lancing. Once again, in 2011, he was in another plane crash that killed his father, who was piloting the plane, his stepmother and put Hatch in a coma.
Now, three years later, shocking his doctors, this Six-foot-six basketball star has achieved his dream of playing for the University of Michigan, his mother's alma mater, on full scholarship.
The second plane crash, which occurred just nine days after he verbally committed to the University of Michigan basketball team, had left him with a traumatic brain injury, and he was put in a medically induced coma.
Hatch, now 19, had to learn how to talk and how to walk all over again. He moved in with an extended family in California to finish high school and trained with a private coach to resume his basketball skills.
Hatch says it is the voices of his family member in his head that guide him forward. "I can hear their voices in my head when I face a difficult situation,'' he told Today News."I can hear my dad guiding me. That's really all I strive to do, is just to honor him with my life... He was my best friend, my basketball coach, my mentor, my everything."
On 8 January, he returned to the basketball court and wowed everyone with a 3-pointed first-shot attempt in a game for Loyola High School. His teammates and coaches had to be whistled out for technical foul, after they ran into the court and embraced him during the game.
Last spring, during the pre-season exhibition game, Hatch played three minutes for the Wolverines against the Perugia Select Team in Rome, Italy and garnered a standing ovation from the Michigan supporters, including his grandfather. He even led the team in singing the school's fight song, "The Victors".
"It really comes down to character, just being able to persevere in the midst of tragedy and adversity." Hatch said "My dad and mom raised me to be an uncommon man. The uncommon man gets up at five in the morning to go work out, to get stronger, when no one else is. It takes an uncommon man to do that when no one is looking."
Hatch says that there is no good in wondering "why me?" Instead, he says one should spend on working towards getting better.
Hatch is also deeply religious and owes his unwavering faith for carrying him through the adversities in his life. "Surviving two airplane crashes, either luck is on your side, or there's some sort of divine intervention in your life,'' he says.