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Stubborn Spirit

Amy Bowers runs again after nearly losing her leg in accident

Some of the most rewarding stories I’ve written have been where athletes have overcome the odds to succeed.

I’ve seen young people deal with devastating injuries, the deaths of family or friends, and defy expectation or circumstance. They are inspirations, and I’m humbled as I do the best I can to tell their stories and try to convey the feelings or emotions of the situation.

It’s hard not to get caught up in the moment. I’ve shed a few tears while talking to these remarkable people and while writing the stories.

Wanting my words to have the same impact on readers is the goal, and over the years, I’ve challenged myself to do just that. Over the years, that desire to be a better story-teller helped me to become a better writer.

Many times though, the subjects themselves provided the best words. I let them tell the tale, and I do what I can to carry the reader through.

The story of Amy Bowers was one of those.


In June of 1991, Bowers was water-skiing with her family on Salamonie Reservoir. She was in the water waiting for the boat to come around and pick her up when another boat came between them, apparently not seeing Bowers. The propeller hit Bowers’ ankle and a plate ripped through her leg.

She was airlifted to the hospital in Fort Wayne, where the battle began to save her leg.

Bowers ran cross country for Huntington North, but in those critical early hours, running was the furthest thing from her mind. All her hopes and dreams were in the balance, and she was wondering what her life was going to be like if she would lose her leg.

She had four surgeries in the first week, and doctors were able to save her leg. She would spend a total of two weeks in the hospital.

But questions remained.

Amy Bowers was not one to just sit around, and inactivity drove her crazy. She was finally able to get up on crutches, and slowly put weight on her leg.

Remarkably, by July, Bowers was able walking.

Then came the thought that turned Bowers’ story from a “mere” miracle into the realm of the unbelievable.

She said to herself, “I thought that if I could walk, I could run.”

Bowers planned to run in a cross country meet that fall. That brought her story onto my radar.


She got the clearance from her doctors, and by mid-September, Amy Bowers was set to compete in the junior varsity race at the Blackford Invitational. It was just four months since the accident that almost took her leg.

Bowers ran and finished 45th out of 53 runners.

I did all my interviews during the week before, and had the story all written ahead of her running in the meet. I just had to add in her results and it ran the day after.

It was a story that Amy pretty much told herself. Her quotes were absolutely amazing as she related her journey. I could not have said what she said any better. My job was to write the transitions between the quotes and stay out of the way.

Twenty-eight years later, this story still sticks with me. I read it over, and it’s hard to believe what this young woman was able to accomplish.


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