Rainbow Warrior catcher Tyler Murray honors late cousin each time he takes the field

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tyler Murray's journey to Manoa isn't the typical tale of your average high school recruit.

He graduated high school was recruited to play for the Rainbow Warrior baseball team. He was set to join enroll at the University of Hawaii during the Fall of 2015.

But on June 25, 2015, Murray's life changed forever.

Murray and his cousin, Ethan, were struck by a drunk driver on their way home from dinner. Tyler suffered a partially collapsed lung and fractured two ribs. Despite the 6-8 month recovery time frame, Murray got off lucky and was able to make a full recovery. As for Ethan, he wasn't as fortunate.

"He got killed on impact … I was in the hospital. My dad came up and told me that Ethan's gone. And I just broke down right there - I couldn't hold anything in. It was just so scary," Murray said.

The physical injuries kept Murray, a catcher, from enrolling at UH that Fall, forcing him to join the Warriors the following Spring. On mental side of things, the recovery is still ongoing.

"I remember everything," Murray said. "Every little part as well, which sucks because it goes through my head everyday just hearing people talking about drinking or talking about driving. Everything replays in my head and I have to deal with that for the rest of my life."

During his recovery three years ago, a million different thoughts raced around Murray's head. From his family, to his personal life and to the sport of baseball. He wasn't sure if the 'Bows would follow through on their end of the scholarship agreement, but Murray's relationship with head coach Mike Trapasso only became stronger.

"I was concerned," Murray said. "But (Trapasso) is a great guy. He took me in with welcome arms and I was so excited. I'm glad that i'm here now. It's paid off for me. It showed that he's not just a coach, he's a friend as well. He took me under his wing and has been watching me ever since."

Also watching over Murray is Ethan, who Murray says is with him every time he runs out on the field. Murray has a rubber bracelet on his left wrist in honor of his cousin, along with a tattoo on his calf to remember him by.

"It's a picture of a wave and it just symbolizes how he always loved to go to the beach," Murray said. "His ashes are in Hanauma Bay."

Murray and the Warriors will take the field tonight against Illinois State at Les Murakami Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. HT.

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