NORMAN, Okla. – Friday was a special day for one Norman High School senior who was running in a track meet for the first time.
He wasn’t running hurdles but the obstacles he’s overcome since a vacation accident last August and is inspiring others.
What appeared to be a normal track meet at Putnam City High school was one of the most important days of Patrick Ahearn’s life.
Ahearn is used to running cross country for Norman High but is now getting ready to run his first race since losing his left foot in a jet ski accident last summer on vacation in Florida.
“I didn’t see a boat coming and I hit a boat and it severed my foot, below the knee,” he said.
Ahearn remembers waking up in the hospital two days later, thinking about running again on a prosthetic leg.
“If I’m going to be able to get one of those and how long is it going to take,” he said. “How long is it going to be, able to walk again and continue my normal life again?”
It took Ahearn five months of rehab to get his first walking leg.
Just two weeks ago, he got his first running leg.
His mom, Lisa Bogle, is crossing her fingers.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “I think I have more butterflies in my stomach than he does today. I asked him, I said, ‘Does time matter for you?’ and he said ‘no’, the only thing that matters to him is that he’s out running and so that’s what matters to me too.”
“I’m feeling pretty excited,” Ahearn said. “I’m not too worried about my time at all. I’m just glad to be back and since this is my senior year, I’m glad that I get to run for my high school one more time before I graduate.”
Patrick stumbled just a little before the started gun, then slowly made his way around the track, running a race that is similar to the adversity of his life.
“Whenever you’re feeling down or if you’re feeling tired in a race, that you keep going and it will get better at the end and everything will be OK,” he said.
He finished his lap to the cheers of family, students and teammates.
Exactly eight months to the day after the accident, Patrick Ahearn officially triumphed over tragedy.
“It’s good to have you back,” one teammate told him.
Once again, Ahearn is just one of the guys.
His message to others; it’s not your situation, but how you react to it that matters.
Ahearn said it may take a while to overcome your obstacles but you can do anything you want.
News Channel 4 wishes him the very best in his continued recovery.