CENTRAL, S.C. — Chris Aurich has flashbacks. Can you blame him?
The car hit a tree, and he doesn’t remember much, but when he awoke, he had more tubes in him than he could have imagined.
There were surgeries, and there was pain, lots of pain, and walking was a struggle, not a given, and going to school and playing tennis became goals instead of his routine.
“I’d just take it day by day,” he said, “one step at a time.”
A little more than two years later, Aurich, a senior at Daniel High School is the No. 1 player on the Lions’ tennis team, which won a region championship and will host South Pointe in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs Tuesday.
He has a weighted 4.1 grade-point average and looks forward to majoring in engineering at Clemson University.
“Here’s a young person who has taken advantage of basically a second chance in life and just run with it,” Daniel tennis coach Jon Parker said. “Attacked is probably the best way I would describe him on the tennis court. Attacked is how I would describe him as far as how he fought through the accident, the recovery and to where he is right now.”
It was mid-March of his sophomore year. Aurich was out with some friends, four of them traveling at night on an unfamiliar road in Seneca.
Aurich was sitting in the back seat on the driver’s side, he said, when the car caught the side of the road.
“It was like a little curb, and I guess it kind of pulled the car off the road in such a manner, and it went down this ravine and into a tree,” he said.
The others had minor fractures, a sprained ankle. Aurich got the worst of it.
He was wearing his seat belt, but in this case, he said, “That’s what they thought did most of the damage.”
“It would have saved my life, but I think it was resting a little higher up on me, and it kind of squeezed my midsection,” Aurich said. “That’s what tore all my intestines and inside organs pretty bad.”