Westmoore's cross country team has been raising money for the family of Patrick Ahearn, the cross country runner from Norman High School who lost his leg in a boating accident Aug. 5 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.
“In cross country, you run against the same teams pretty much on a weekly basis,” Westmoore coach Laura Clay said. “We probably see them (Norman) eight or nine times during the year. We have grown real close to them and their kids. We are just trying to do our part.”
Westmoore plans to present the money for Ahearn's family to the Tigers' cross country team Saturday at a practice meet in Norman between the schools.
Clay said her squad “knows what that kid has put into his sport. It really does affect you differently knowing it's a cross country runner. This is one of our guys.”
Norman coach Scott Monnard has heard from dozens of cross country coaches in Oklahoma who offered support.
Ahearn is now using a wheelchair and already started physical therapy while hospitalized in Florida, Monnard said. Ahearn and his family began the drive back to Norman on Tuesday, he said.
It will take at least two or three days for them to travel from Florida to Oklahoma, Monnard said. They must take frequent breaks from driving so Ahearn can move around, he said.
Norman High School begins classes Aug. 22.
“We are not sure when or at what point he will head back to school,” Monnard said.