FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WWJ/AP) — An Indiana high school basketball star who suffered a serious head injury in a small plane crash that killed his father and stepmother likely won’t return to the court this season, his family said Wednesday.
Austin Hatch made an early commitment in June to play basketball at the University of Michigan starting in 2013. The plane crash happened shortly after.
His family said he’s making great strides in his rehabilitation, but the first year is vital to the recovery process and it’s unlikely his doctors will clear him to play during his junior season. Along with a head injury, Hatch suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs and collarbone.
The family’s statement was distributed by Fort Wayne’s Canterbury High School, where the 6-foot-6 Hatch is a junior.
His father was flying when the plane struck a garage in a neighborhood near the Charlevoix Municipal Airport. The family had been on their way to their summer home on Walloon Lake in Michigan’s northwestern Lower Peninsula.
A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board investigation found that Dr. Hatch had called the airport to describe his approach. Within minutes, the plane’s nose pitched up, then the plane crashed into a garage. According to the report, no one was to blame for the crash.
It was the second plane accident Hatch survived. He and his father lived through a 2003 crash that killed Hatch’s mother and two siblings. His father was flying then too.
Hatch’s family said last month that he had returned home after being cared for at the Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Mich., and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
The statement released Wednesday says Hatch will attend Canterbury’s games this season but would like his privacy respected with no requests for interviews.
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