SC Featured, the premier storytelling brand of ESPN SportsCenter, returns Sunday, Feb. 8, with the story of University of Michigan basketball player Austin Hatch. He is the survivor of two separate plane crashes that killed members of his family.
“I’ve met some amazing people,” said Dan Arruda, producer of the piece. “But I’ve never met anyone who’s gone through as much work as he has and dealt with as much tragedy as he has.”
When he was eight, Hatch and his pilot father survived the first plane crash that took the lives of his mother and two siblings. Then, after his sophomore year of high school, Hatch suffered serious injuries in the second crash that killed his father and stepmother.
Only days earlier, Hatch had accepted a basketball scholarship offer from Michigan.
“He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for weeks,” Arruda said. “So coming out of the coma, he was forced to learn everything again, and literally had to reteach himself how to play basketball.”
For the story, Arruda and his team were afforded multiple meetings with Hatch. Reporter Chris Connelly met with Hatch twice.
“He’s only done two interviews about the tragedies to this point,” Arruda said. “He not only sat down with us in Los Angeles last June, he sat down with us again in Ann Arbor (Mich.) last November. We’ve also spent time with him in Ann Arbor at their practice, so we’ve had some very good access.”
Others in the piece include Hatch’s older sister Maria, who took him in after the second crash and became his legal guardian, and Rasheed Hazzard, an assistant coach with the New York Knicks and the son of the late Walt Hazzard, a star player for UCLA and later in the NBA.
“He [Hazzard] became Austin’s main trainer and worked with him every day, hours a day,” Arruda said. “He’s probably most responsible for getting Austin back on the court.”
“Miraculous: The Austin Hatch Story” debuts in the 10 a.m. ET edition of the Sunday SportsCenter and will re-air in subsequent editions of the program. A half-hour special on Hatch airs Monday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.