Disney’s ESPN has announced details on a new episode of E60, which documents the amazing and what had been considered an impossible return to basketball of University of Southern California women’s player Aaliyah Gayles, who was shot multiple times and spent more than a year rehabilitating after bullets burrowed through her arms and legs and left 18 holes in her body.

“Only the Strong Survive” will debut on Saturday, 23rd March 2024, at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The documentary will also be available immediately following on ESPN+ and ESPN’s YouTube channel.  After the initial airing, in addition to being available on ESPN+, the program will re-air multiple times on ESPN networks.

In the half-hour feature, Gayles tells reporter Katie Barnes the story of the night in April of 2022 that changed her life and the journey to regain what was taken from her. It all led to her defying the odds and in November of 2023 logging her first official in-game minutes for the Trojans.

In her senior year of high school, she had played in the McDonald’s All-American Game and was the No. 8 high school recruit in the country when she attended a party in her hometown of Las Vegas on the fateful night. Gayles found herself in a confrontation that would leave her shot multiple times with injuries, including shattered bones in her arms and legs and a burst blood vessel.

In the E60 feature, video and pictures show that emergency surgery saved all of her limbs and put Gayles on a long path of recovery. When the incident happened, Gayles had not officially signed to play collegiately, but USC, her top choice, still decided to offer her a scholarship. She spent months in a rehab facility, regaining her strength and learning how to walk. While her body was affected, her dream to play basketball only grew. Gayles would relentlessly rehab during the 2022-2023 season and was cleared to play ahead of this current season.

Aaliyah Gayles’ parents, her father, Dwight Gayles and mother, Malkia Lockett, are a large part of the storytelling, recounting their memories of the night of the shooting and their roles in their daughter’s comeback.

Among others interviewed in the feature:

  • Dr. Allison McNickle – surgeon, University Medical Center, Las Vegas, NV
  • Lindsay Gottlieb – USC women’s head basketball coach
  • Erin Tillman – USC athletic trainer
  • JuJu Watkins, Rayah Marshall – USC women’s basketball team members

This new documentary, “Only the Strong Survive”, was directed by Jason Kostura.

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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