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Today’s must-read story centers on Austin Hatch

Thanks to Austin Hatch’s family, people can find regular updates on the health of the Michigan hoops recruit. He’s slowly recovering from injuries suffered during the June 25 plane crash that also killed his dad and stepmother, slowly and surely.

But for those seeking more than a steady drip of news on one of the saddest stories of the summer, I offer Elizabeth Merrill’s profile of Hatch and his family. Be warned: It’s not an easy read.

For example, there’s this excerpt:

The night of June 24 was a time to be together. Kim had just gotten back from a trip to Joplin, Mo., where she had gone to help tornado victims. She drove 10 hours the previous night to make it back for this flight, tired but full of inspiration. She took a seat next to her husband in the front. Austin made his way to the back, near his labradoodle, Brady. He had earned this vacation. Although he was barely removed from his sophomore year of high school, Austin had just accepted a scholarship offer to play basketball for Michigan, and his dad was over the moon about the kid starring for the maize and blue. “One of the best weeks of my life,” Hatch texted a friend on Father’s Day.

His stepmother had just volunteered at one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Austin, meanwhile, had just accepted a scholarship offer to Michigan. And Hatch’s dad, Stephen, skipped a trip to Spain to celebrate his parent’s 50th wedding anniversary so he could take a trip with his wife and son.

Those are the basic, disheartening details. Merrill’s story is much more. Give it a read, if you haven’t already..

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.