Big 10

ESPN profiles Michael Hirsch’s story from battling rare disease to walk-on at Michigan

September 23, 2017

Michael Hirsch received the call of his life on April 21, 2016.

It was from Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh, offering Hirsch a spot on the team as a walk-on.

In July 2011, Hirsch was diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis with polyangiitis, a rare autoimmune disease. He was on track to play for the Harvard varsity football team after playing his freshman season on JV, but his career was put on hold.

Hirsch underwent nearly 30 surgical procedures and numerous chemotherapy treatments. In Aug. 2015, he began working out every day in hopes of getting back onto field. He received the call from Harbaugh, which fulfilled a lifelong dream – to play football at Michigan.

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In the team’s first game Sept. 3, 2016, at home against Hawaii, he had a 15-yard reception.

“I haven’t had a bad day since I stepped out onto that field,” Hirsch said in a featured segment on ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Saturday.

Hirsch also had one rush for two yards last season before receiving his master’s degree in August. He has since returned to work for Citigroup as a corporate bond salesman.  

The entire story of his inspirational journey is in the video below. 

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