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Omaha nurse returns to professional bowling after working on COVID frontline

Posted at 10:16 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 23:16:05-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — During this time, a lot of us have given up hobbies and maybe even passions in order to stay safe. One local nurse says after more than a year, she’s finally able to step into her other role again as a professional bowler.

Erin McCarthy is a bowler. She started in childhood, played through her college years and now for the past six years, she’s been bowling with the Professional Women’s Bowling Association.

“Bowling has always been there for me," says McCarthy. "I’m 30, and for 28 years of my life, bowling has been what I do.”

It’s a passion that fills her time when she’s not working as a nurse here in Omaha, and it's an outlet she missed when her tour was canceled in 2020.

For the past year, McCarthy has been caring for COVID-19 patients at both Nebraska Medicine and Methodist Health.

“Having to come in day after day, and having to wear the PPE constantly and seeing - to be blunt - not to be morbid, but I’ve seen more death in 2020 than I’ve seen during my entire seven years," McCathy says.

McCarthy says while she was too exhausted after her shifts to play the game she loves, bowling has stuck with her.

“You kind of have to have the same mentality in both sports and nursing," McCarthy says. "You have to have kind of a calm, cool, collected thought process. So I kind of try to take that into consideration. And you have to have patience.”

After 500 days her bowling tour being canceled, McCarthy was able to start bowling again in January.

“Almost refreshing," McCarthy says, describing the experience. "You don’t realize how much you miss it until something’s taken.”

McCarthy says she's still nursing, spending the first half of her week in the hospitals and touring for the second half.