Norman High School cross country and soccer standout Patrick Ahearn is conscious after being injured Sunday in Florida.
Ahearn, driving a rented personal watercraft, collided with a boat. The boat's propeller cut off Ahearn's left leg below the knee. He also suffered a broken clavicle.
Norman cross country coach Scott Monnard has been communicating with Ahearn's mother and keeping the team informed of his condition.
“He's doing about as well as can be expected,” Monnard said. “If there's a kid on the team that can handle something like this and make it a positive, he's probably one of them.”
Ahearn was informed about the lost limb Thursday.
“Mom said he took it like a champ,” Monnard said. “I know with him, the wheels are already turning and he's already thinking of ways that he can make this a positive thing. He's going to have a platform and he's going to make the best of the situation.”
In the days following the accident, it didn't look like Ahearn would be back in Oklahoma by the time Norman schools start Aug. 22.
But after undergoing surgery Thursday, it appears Ahearn could head back home sometime next week.
“They'll only be able to drive two or three hours at a time so he can stay up and moving,” Monnard said. “But we're looking forward to having him back.
“We don't want to overwhelm him when he gets here, but at the same time, we've got tons of people that are champing at the bit to show him how much they care and to help him.”
Norman runner Mackenzie Wahpepah-Harris is friends with Ahearn.
“It was shocking to hear about,” Wahpepah-Harris said. “He's always been a pretty determined runner. He may not be the fastest but he's definitely a leader on our team.”
Ahearn started running cross country to help him out with soccer, Monnard said.
“He showed a new level of commitment this year,” he said. “There was no question he wanted to be a leader on this team. He really started that in July. He was one of the first ones, if not the first one there when we practiced every morning.
“He showed up not really knowing much about the sport, but it's been amazing to watch him progress in these four years.”
Monnard hadn't publicly announced the captains for this year's team, but Ahearn was one of two he knew would get the honor.
“We went ahead and told his mom and she told him,” Monnard said. “When he returns, we expect him to be one of those captains on the team still.”
A fund has been set up to benefit Ahearn at the Republic Bank and Trust at 401 W. Main St. in Norman.
“We're just going to try to support him and show him how much we all care about him and try to help him when he gets here,” Wahpepah-Harris said.