Grayling HS Golfer Heads to State Finals After Spending Days in a Coma Last Year

A remarkable recovery.

A northern Michigan high school golfer reached his goal of making it to state finals, after spending several days in a coma last year.

Jake Hinkle will be the only member of the Grayling golf team headed to state finals in Grand Rapids this weekend.

It’s an accomplishment his family and coaches are thrilled to see.

A van carrying members of the Grayling High School golf team, and another van collided in Kalkaska County on April 29th, 2013.

In all, ten people were involved in the crash.

3 people died; golfer Louis Menard, coach Jason Potter, and Cassandra Stapleton, who was in the other van.

Hinkle, Tyler Summers, Dallas Johnson, Mason Krey, and Gunner Metzer were all hurt in the crash.

It’s quite the comeback for Jake who says as he slowly recovered, he knew he wanted to golf again.

Then he set his sights a little higher- he wanted to golf at the state finals.

“I was in a coma I think for 4 days at Munson, and then I spent two weeks there, and at Mary Free Bed.”

A year ago, some days Jake Hinkle woke up unsure of what state he was even living in.

“It was very difficult to watch that happening, at the same time it was remarkable, because he was recovering,” explains his mother, Jody Hinkle.

With broken bones and a brain injury, healing first took place in the hospital. Then moved it to these greens.

“His whole major goal last summer was to get on the golf course, and he was doing it with a cane and couldn’t even play. He could putt once in a while but he just wanted to get on the course,” says his dad, Craig Hinkle.

Slowly but surely, Jake re-learned how to chip, swing, and find the bottom of the cup.

“I just kind of took each moment day by day, and I really didn’t want to think ahead because thinking ahead kind of made me nervous. I just wanted to get to state so bad.”

This weekend, Jake’s dream becomes a reality.

His mom beaming with pride, “He’s going to state, it’s like Cinderella’s going to the ball!”

“I’m proud of myself and I’m happy,” says Jake.

No matter where Jake places this weekend- the Hinkle’s are certain of one thing, they’re already winners.

“It does not matter, the victory is here right now, it’s just a bonus if he goes beyond his goal now, it’s just a bonus.”

9&10 News asked Jake if he thinks he’s a better golfer now than before the accident- he says his coach tells him his swing looks better than ever.