The arrival of spring is always a good time for baseball teams and fans of the sport, but something special is happening at the University of Indianapolis this season.
There, a new member of the Greyhounds’ baseball program is changing lives.
Pittsboro’s Owen Mahan joined the team with a mock-signing in February, and the 6-year-old has since become what one player called the team’s “X-factor.”
“Our kids love him, and he’s a part of this ball club,” UIndy baseball coach Gary Vaught said. “He will always be a part of our family, and he’s going to have an impact on a lot of people in his life. I’m just glad we’re a part of it.”
At 2, Owen was severely burned over 98 percent of his body. His birth parents in Kansas told investigators he fell into a bathtub filled with scalding water, and those same parents didn’t request medical assistance until two hours after the incident. Charges were never filed.
Despite being given no chance of survival, Owen pulled through, and Pittsboro’s Susan and Jim Mahan took him home under a foster-care agreement. They legally adopted him a year-and-a-half ago.
Over the past three years, Owen has continued to defy medical projections. Doctors once thought he wouldn’t walk or talk, yet he does both aplenty. Still, his path is far from easy. He travels to Shriners hospitals in Cincinnati and St. Louis for care, and will endure two to three painful surgeries per year until he stops growing.
In addition to stretching exercises, Owen needs lotion applied four times daily, including at Pittsboro Primary School. There, he has his own aide, and Shriners comes in each year to talk to students about what they can do to help him.