EGGERTSVILLE, NY (WKBW) — Carrie Owens has always been that dedicated coach every high school athlete dreams of having.
She's been calling the shots at Sacred Heart Academy in Eggertsville since the summer of 2017. She's helped lead the Sharks to many Monsignor Martin league titles, a State Championship, and winning records.
But the 2021 season has tested Owens in more ways than one. Because while she'd love to be in the gym with her girls, she's instead at her home in Cheektowaga, coaching virtually from her wheelchair with a new outlook on life.
"It changed my whole perspective on things," Owens said. "You just gotta remember that there's people that are worse than you and to just not take anything for granted."
Owen's life changed forever back in November. She was in a motorcycle accident that resulted in an emergency amputation of her left leg. She was released from the hospital more than a week later but the road to recovery has been ongoing.
"Besides my amputation, I have a torn meniscus and lateral ligament in this [right] leg, and I have torn ligaments in my wrist."
She's going to have to have surgery on her right leg once her prosthetic is in place, which she should receive in a few weeks.
There are good days and bad days, but Owens has pushed through. She's had so much outside support, but it's basketball that's given her that escape. She's a coach and she wanted nothing more than to do that this season.
"I promised the girls I would be back coaching and I wanted to be back coaching," she said. "I'm like OK, how are we going to do this? We gotta figure it out."
The school and Owens came up with a game-day setup that's worked wonders. She's got a view of the school's live stream on one laptop, a view from an assistant coach's ipad [held by an assistant or student-athelte] on another laptop, a notebook to keep track of things, and a cell phone to communicate with her girls on the bench.
It's a crazy setup but it works, because Owens is coaching and in her element. She's thankful for technology, grateful to be here, and anxious to one day be back on the sideline.
"I'll probably have this warm sensation or feeling when I first go into the gym and the game starts," she said about one day returning to the sideline. "I'll be home. I'll be home, and it'll feel good."
And that time could come sooner than later. On Wednesday evening, Owens was cleared by doctors and will be on the sideline for the first this season on Friday when they play Nardin.