Home > How cross country helped a teen overcome a dramatic paintball injury | USA Today High School Sports

How cross country helped a teen overcome a dramatic paintball injury | USA Today High School Sports

Evie McGowan can’t feel her left arm below her elbow. That’s not an exaggeration; the teen literally has no feeling in her left arm below her elbow. The condition is the result of a tragically unfortunate paintball accident when she was in seventh grade, with a bullet that struck her left arm flush and left her upper arm (around her shoulder) hyper sensitive and the area from her left elbow down completely numb. She was forced to go through months of diagnostic tests, a period during which she had to leave her left arm in a sling, and eventually settled on physical therapy.

Through it all, McGowan struggled as the nerve damage in her arm continued to sap her upper arm strength. She tried to stay in shape, but couldn’t play soccer or run on her school’s cross country team, her two primary passions. A year later that changed when she returned to the Lovejoy middle school cross country squad, and according to the Lovejoy High School Red Ledger, now McGowan is back on the trail at the high school level, despite feeling little sensation in her lower arm. She plans to return to soccer as well, and she will play in the coming season for the high school team as well.

“She was in a sling for almost a year and it hurt for her to move her arm,” freshman Brock Yeager told the Red Ledger. “She couldn’t run or play any sports while it was hurt. Now she is back playing soccer and running cross country. [I’m really] happy she’s feeling better.”

She’s better, though not entirely. McGowan still has no feeling in her left hand, and struggles with searing pain when she is active and suffers from dehydration. All of that is a small cost for her ability to remain active and competitive in the sports she loves, now as a passionate high school athlete.


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