COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A local high school science teacher is heading to Poland to compete with the U.S. National Women’s Amputee Soccer team in their first international competition.
Katie Bondy is a science teacher for the Online Academy in Hilliard and is also a girls’ lacrosse and soccer coach. Katie has lived with disabilities for 32 years now, as she was born with spina bifida and scoliosis. She didn’t let her disabilities stop her from being active. Katie participated in sports like softball, lacrosse, shotput and discus and soccer; she had to use assistive devices like a brace.
The journey to her amputation started in November 2021, when Katie underwent a pretty intense hip surgery.
“They broke my left hip in four different places to reset it. So, it was angled about 24 degrees forward and they broke it to reset it the correct way,” Bondy said.
From that surgery, she began getting pressure sores. In May 2022, she got a really bad pressure sore that ended up hospitalizing her for two weeks. During this time was when she made the decision to amputate the lower half of her left leg.
“I was fine with that because I had 12 screws and a plate in my ankle and my ankle was always locked and I had the full leg brace,” Bondy said.
The morning of her surgery, she was asked if she was ready. Katie simply responded, “bring it on.”
Katie has been going to the Hanger Clinic for at least five years now. She had her surgery in May and by September, the clinic got her walking again.
“September [first] is a really inspirational day and like month for me. I had my first prosthetic and I got to walk,” Bondy said.
For her physical therapy, she began working with Adaptive Sports Connection, which is where she tried out soccer. Katie said she was skeptical at first, but quickly fell in love. Then someone from the U.S. Women’s National Amputee Soccer team reached out and that’s how Katie got involved.
“It’s the first international women’s competition, and I get to be a part of it, which is the coolest thing,” Bondy said.
Before heading to Poland, she stopped by the clinic one last time to do a final check.
“To make sure her brace on her right side and her prosthetic on her left side, we’re in good shape, everything’s fitting okay, everything’s comfortable for her so she can go over and play as much soccer as she wants without any problems,” said Makenzie Best, a certified prosthetist and orthotist with the Hanger Clinic.
When asked if she was excited, Bondy said:
“I’m so excited. I’ll probably fall, and I’ll just get back up and I’ll fall again, and I’ll run as fast as I can. If I trip, I’ll just get up and I try to kick a ball on it and I miss it. I’ll still be happy.”
As a high school teacher, she hopes her students take away one message from her story.
“Everybody has challenges and it’s how you face your challenges,” Bondy said.
The U.S. Amputee Soccer Association has launched a fundraiser campaign for the trip to Poland.
Katie and the rest of the team will be heading to Poland on Sept. 13. They compete on Sept. 16 and Sept. 17.