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University of Alabama signee Peter Berry’s story one of tragedy, triumph

This is a story about tragedy and triumph, a story about loss and love.

It’s a story that perhaps hasn’t received a lot of local attention, but it’s a story that needs to be told, as it’s a story about perseverance, strength and determination. A warning: If you are not holding a tissue, find one ASAP.

As thousands of high school athletes signed college scholarships on Wednesday, the University of Alabama Athletics Department reeled in the top recruit in America. However, this signee is not a football player, but rather the top high school wheelchair basketball player in the nation — and the story of Houston’s Peter Berry is as heartbreaking as it is inspiring.

Eight years ago, Josh and Robin Berry were returning home with their three kids from a Colorado vacation. Suddenly, lives were lost and lives were changed, as Josh and Robin were instantly killed in a head-on crash on a Texas highway. Peter, then nine-years-old, and his brother Aaron, then eight-years old, were paralyzed from the waist down, and their sister, Willa, was seriously injured.

Somehow, someway, the kids carved out their lives after being taken in by their uncle and aunt: Matt and Simone Berry.

And as Peter tried to move on, something special would overcome him: A love for wheelchair basketball. The sport not only helped him cope, but it helped him turn into America’s top prep wheelchair player.

On Wednesday, Peter signed with UA, and now Peter Berry has another family that loves him — the Alabama family, as he joins one of the top wheelchair basketball teams in the nation.

Let me be one of the first to welcome Peter to Tuscaloosa. His drive, his determination and his love for his family is to be admired.

If you see Peter on campus next fall, be sure to welcome him to Tuscaloosa and give him a big “Roll Tide.” I know that you will welcome him with open arms.

We admire your grit, Peter, and we can all learn from your remarkable journey.

You can read more via the Houston Chronicle here and KHOU here.

Rick Karle is a 24-time Emmy winning broadcaster and a special sports contributor to Yellowhammer News. He is also the host of the Huts and Nuts podcast.