Family of Brockport student killed in skiing accident remembers their son and brother

Updated: 03/17/2014 11:31 PM
Created: 03/17/2014 7:08 PM WHEC.com

The family of Austin White, say he took nothing for granted, lived life to the fullest and died doing something he loved.

Austin White was snowboarding at Whiteface Ski Resort near Lake Placid yesterday when State Police say he left the trail and hit a tree and died.

White was a senior at the College at Brockport, and was scheduled to graduate this May. He was from Livingston County. 

White's family says there were few things this he didn't enjoy, from skydiving, to basketball, to his studies in school. Five years ago a car crash nearly ended his life, so tonight they expressed thanksgiving for the extra time they had with him.

His Father, Roy White said, “I guess he went out doing what he loved.”

His family is trying to find comfort in the way the 22-year-old died, snowboarding, a sport he had loved since childhood growing up near Bristol. But there's a nagging question this family cannot seem to answer, how could this young man cheat death five years ago, only to die in a freak accident Sunday.   

Catherine White Barber, white's mother said, “That's what we're asking, and you know you gotta get up and live your life and go out every day like it was your last, and he did that. He did.”

Back in 2009 when it seemed white had it all, his life came to an abrupt halt. It was his senior year at Honeoye Central, he was star basketball player. One week before sectionals, White was in a car crash and sustained severe head injuries. His family says doctors weren't sure he would ever recover. But miraculously he did. He worked hard and 18 weeks later, he drove to his graduation and gave a commencement speech. Since that day his family says he was full of more life than you could imagine.

“When he was in not particularly great shape just coming in to rehab at Unity Hospital, the kid could hardly talk, he was paralyzed on one side and you'd ask him how are you doing today and he's say it's a great day to be alive, he was an extraordinary individual, said his Father, Roy.

His younger sister, Ashley, was with him this weekend at Whiteface. She says it was his idea, and she was happy to spend spring break together. Today she is counting her blessings she had those last hours with him.

“It was great. We had a lot of fun. It just ended too soon. He was so happy, he really was. We were having a great time. We couldn't ask anymore i guess.”

White was scheduled to get his degree in exercise science from Brockport. He wanted to become an occupational therapist and help others in the same way he was helped after his accident.

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