Not a day that goes by that Austin Replogle’s adoptive father Brian doesn’t think about that fateful day 16 years ago. That was when two-year-old Austin was violently shaken by his mother’s boyfriend. In a matter of minutes, a vivacious, healthy young boy was almost dead. Fortunately, Austin was a tough little guy even then. He has been his whole life.
Austin has fought his way through over a dozen surgeries, ongoing physical therapy, countless treatments, broken bones and peripheral blindness. Although he suffers from shaken baby syndrome, Austin doesn’t know how to give up. Those that know him admire his spirit. “He’s a great kid and really inspirational,” says David Murray, a friend of the family.
Austin can’t read or write, but he can recite movie scenes line for line after a couple of viewings. He enjoys his iPad and Xbox and riding his custom-made trike. He says, “I love you” often and he means it. As father Brian says, “He just knows how to be happy and loving.” He makes friends everywhere he goes. Austin and Brian have also helped thousands of people learn about Shaken Baby Syndrome and how to prevent it. They are frequent speakers and have even had the chance to speak at national conferences.
Austin also likes – no, make that loves – the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, especially ND hockey. He has hockey season tickets and you can be sure, each and every game, the Leprechaun stops by to say hello. You should too.