An American teenager who confounded all medical expectations by surviving two deadly plane crashes has made an emotional return to the basketball court.
Three years ago Austin Hatch, 19, survived a plane crash that claimed the lives of his father and stepmother in Charlevoix, Michigan.
Before that, in 2003, he survived another plane crash on the same route that tragically claimed the lives of his mother, brother and sister.
Since the second incident, Hatch has spent his time learning to breathe, eat and walk again.
His efforts culminated on last week when he landed the first shot he attempted when returning to play basketball for his high school in Los Angeles.
Hatch has been taken in by his uncle in California after deciding to leave his home state of Indiana after the deaths of his family members.
Before the second plane crash Hatch had been due to play for the University of Michigan, an agreement the team coach John Beilein has agreed to honour. Hatch has been included in the university's list of recruits for 2014.
During his recovery from brain trauma and other injuries he kept his focus on his dream of playing college basketball.
"Basketball has always given me something to shoot for," Hatch said during an interview in November.
"Aside from the physical trauma that I suffered in the accident, the emotional pain will never fully subside."
- © Fairfax NZ News