INDIANAPOLIS (Christian Examiner) -- In Indiana where activists have turned the Final Four into an unlikely battleground over LGBT rights and called foul over a bill intended to ensure religious freedom for all -- an unlikely survival story has emerged.
Travis Trice almost did not live to see the day he would earn a spot playing for Michigan State in the Final Four.
His then 18-year-old mother was urged to abort him.
College recruiters determined he was "too skinny" and "too short" to play Division I basketball.
Julie Trice told the Detroit Free Press her son's story, beginning with the discovery she was pregnant as a senior in high school where she was on a fast track to an athletic scholarship with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
"People were telling me I should get an abortion after I got pregnant," she said.
"People have been saying 'No, no, no, no, no' to him forever," she added, alluding to the many challanges he has had to overcome in life.
Travis was delivered by an emergency C-section, with the umbilical cord around his ankles, after his heart "flatlined" in the 41st week of pregnancy.
His freshmen year of college it was determined he had a still-undiagnosed brain infection. Losing 20 pounds and sleeping at least a dozen hours daily, he could barely leave his bed. Basketball was out of the question.
"It was definitely scary, throughout the whole thing it was, because at a certain point you're wondering, 'Am I dying?' " he told CBS a year after his illness. "'Do I have some rare disease that hasn't been figured out?' ... Toward the end, after a month and a half, you start thinking of brain tumor, cancer, AIDS. You start thinking of everything. I think for a while I went to a dark place."
Trice's parents took him to church and prayed for his recovery. Suddenly, he said in a 2013 news story, he began to heal – almost miraculously.
"I think God allowed me to go through that and I think it changed me to who I am today," he said. "I was in a dark place, and He kind of brought me out of that."
Julie Trice often texts the family's driving Bible verse to each of them: ""Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Michigan plays against Duke University Blue Devils April 4.