Carrie Stevens Owens '03

Warrior On and Off the Court


Carrie Stevens Owens ’03 fought some tough battles on the basketball court, where she was a star forward throughout her four years at D’Youville and then served as assistant coach until 2008. Now she is using her fierce tenacity to fight the biggest battle of her life – recovering from a serious motorcycle accident in early November 2020 that resulted in the loss of her left leg.


The accident occurred when a truck making a left-turn ran into her while she was riding her motorcycle. Owens endured multiple injuries beyond her left leg, including a torn meniscus and lateral ligaments in her right leg, deep bone contusions, and ligament damage in her right wrist. But with the same drive that led her to be an all-star athlete and successful coach, she left the hospital only nine days after the lower part of her leg was amputated.


“Anybody who knows me, knows I stay busy,” Owens says. “I’m always teaching, coaching, working security, doing lots of activities. After nine days in the hospital, I told the doctor, ‘I need out.’ They wanted to send me to rehabilitation facility, but Erie County was about to go back into lockdown (due to coronavirus). I wouldn’t have been able to have any visitors.”


Her doctors needed convincing. So, a little more than a week after her life-changing accident, Owens performed a series of tests to show she could handle living at home – using a walker, going up and down stairs, getting in and out of a shower. And she passed.


Regarding her recovery, she says, “The physical part isn’t going to be difficult for me. The emotional and mental part is what’s going to be difficult. I knew I needed to be around my family, because they wouldn’t allow me to go into a dark place of feeling sorry for myself.”


By the end of the month, Owens even returned to work, teaching online. She is a career and technical education teacher at East Community High School in Buffalo, in addition to coaching girls’ basketball at Sacred Heart Academy.


Although some were surprised by her quick return to teaching, Owens says, “It was the best decision as far as making progress in my recovery. It gets me up in the morning and gives me a purpose. The kids bring me joy. They are so genuine in their care for me, it lifts my spirits.”


Owens receives a number of therapies to aid in her recovery and she was excited to learn her occupational therapist, Maria Klein McLaughlin, is also a D’Youville alumna. McLaughlin, who graduated in 1996, helps Owens with regaining her range of motion and strength in her hand with ligament damage.


“I love her!” Owens says. “She’s always shown concern for me as a person, not just as one of her OT patients. She can tell when I come in if I’m having a rough day. She takes the time to talk to me and reassures me that what I’m going through is OK.”


A GoFundMe has been set up for Owens to help with expenses. Owens hopes the funds raised will help her get back to being an athlete again. “My insurance will cover only one type of prosthetic,” she says. “I’ll have to pay out-of-pocket if I want a more athletic one for running and coaching, and they cost $20,000.” If you wish to donate, visit


By Cathy Wilde