Former Arizona State outfielder Cory Hahn's journey following paralyzation suffered during his freshman season with the Sun Devils has another touching layer following the 2013 MLB draft.
As noted by multiple outlets, the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted Hahn in the 34th round on Saturday, 1,020th overall. Hahn was eligible for the draft this year because it was his third removed from high school.
Derrick Hall, Arizona's President and CEO, confirmed the news on his personal Twitter account:
So proud of the @dbacks for selecting Cory Hahn in the 34th rd. Cory, who wore #34 at ASU, was paralyzed sliding head first in his 2nd game.— Derrick Hall (@DHallDbacks) June 8, 2013
Hahn tweeted out his appreciation later Saturday night:
I cannot thank the @dbacks enough for what they have done! So humbled and will be forever grateful! So honored to be a diamondback!— Coryhahn34 (@Coryhahn34) June 9, 2013
On Monday, June 10, he tweeted his appreciation for the support he's been receiving:
Wow!! Very humbled by all the kind and supporting tweets over the last few days! Thank you to everyone for the continued support!— Coryhahn34 (@Coryhahn34) June 10, 2013
The former Sun Devil being drafted in the 34th round was not a coincidence. As noted by Dan Bickley of AZCentral, Hahn wore No. 34 during his short time with the Sun Devils:
Great gesture by @Dbacks drafting Cory Hahn in 34th round. Before he was paralyzed, Hahn wore No. 34 at ASU— Dan Bickley (@danbickley) June 8, 2013
Following the selection, there were many on Twitter who reached out and showed their support for the Diamondbacks' gesture. Utility player Willie Bloomquist congratulated Arizona on its move:
Classy move by the DBacks for drafting ASU baseball product Cory Hahn- who was paralyzed last year during the season. #class act— Willie Bloomquist (@williebloom) June 8, 2013
A breakout star at the hallowed Mater Dei High School in California, Hahn always expected to be on a professional baseball roster one day. He was the state of California's Mr. Baseball for the 2010 year, batting .411 and dominating on the mound to the tune of a 14-1 record. Following that campaign, he was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 26th round.
But Hahn had always wanted to go to school, so he turned down being a professional. It was a decision that would fundamentally alter his life forever.
In just his third game with the Sun Devils, Hahn reached first base during the first inning of a game against New Mexico. The coaching staff called for a double steal, and as Hahn slid headfirst into the bag, he collided with second baseman Kyle Stiner.
The impact of the collision caused a freak accident, leaving Hahn with a broken neck. He was taken into emergency surgery, but the prognosis was dire.
According to the Los Angeles Times' Bill Plaschke, the Arizona State outfielder became a C5 quadriplegic, meaning he was paralyzed from the chest down. While he had limited use of his hands, Hahn's time on the baseball diamond was finished.
It became quite clear that Hahn would not succumb to his fate. As noted in a profile from January by Fox Sports West's Rayshaun Haylock, Hahn went hard to work, putting the same vigor with which he once played the game into his recovery.
He made gradual progress, returning to Arizona State last year to pursue his business degree. Even without the ability to walk out on the diamond to help his team, Hahn contributed in another way—as an assistant coach.
Though the journey is still one of small victories—Hahn is still unable to walk and his status going forward is still up in the air—Arizona's decision to draft him is a big step. On Hahn's Twitter page, his tag line is "Inspiring the Uninspired."
Having finally realized his dream of being a major league draftee, Hahn's dream to inspire continues to come true.
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