patient, Jazzy playing basketball

May 12, 2021 / Sports Medicine

Keep Pushing

17-year-old Jazzy has been playing basketball since she was 3 years old. Her mom, Krystal, first began to see signs of Jazzy's gift for the sport when she was in fourth grade. "She was tenacious," says Krystal. "She was really good." As Jazzy got older and continued to play basketball, she became involved with Trey Athletes, a nonprofit organization that helps high school athletes become leaders, role models and influential voices for their communities. "I love it so much!" says Jazzy. "It's super fun and definitely very educational. I learn a lot about myself and things like my college experience, so I am grateful for that."

As a sophomore at Frisco’s Liberty High School, Jazzy played on the UIL 5A State Championship team and was recognized as M.V.P. at the 5A State Championship. Soon after this, COVID-19 brought all organized sports to a halt, so Jazzy couldn't play for several months. Once things began to open again, Jazzy was ready to get back on the court for Amateur Athletic Union (A.A.U.) practice, but she stepped wrong and felt her leg give out on her.Jazzy-playing-basketball-IMG_1545.JPG

Krystal found out about the Scottish Rite for Children Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center in Frisco from Jazzy's assistant coach. When she brought Jazzy to meet with pediatric orthopedic surgeon Henry B. Ellis, M.D., he determined that she had torn her Achilles tendon and that surgery was needed to repair it. "Dr. Ellis was great," says Jazzy. "This was my first surgery, so there was definitely a lot of doubt and questioning. He made the experience so much better, and I was very comfortable, and I trusted him through the process."

After a successful surgery, Jazzy's natural tenacity and the strong sense of self and resilience developed as Trey Athletes helped her get through a long physical therapy process. "It was definitely a mental struggle more than anything just because I would be fighting with myself more so than my body," says Jazzy. "But it was a great process. I learned a lot, and I feel like I got better, even with the rest of my body." Krystal was very impressed with physical therapist Jessica Penshorn, P.T., D.P.T., A.T.C., L.A.T., and physical therapy tech Timothy Nuckols. Although it was hard work, Penshorn and Nuckols made the experience enjoyable for Jazzy, and she looked forward to going every day. "J.P. and Tim are one of the best teams that I've seen," says Krystal. "We are trying to figure out ways to go back to see them. I'm like, 'Jazzy, does anything else hurt?'"

After another winning season at Liberty, she and the Redhawks fought for the state championship again in 2021. For her performance in that game, Jazzy was named to the 5A All-Tournament Team. Today, Jazzy says that she feels great and that she is 100% recovered. As she continues to build her strength in certain parts of the game, Jazzy realizes that she wasn't as strong as she thought she was before surgery. "Now, the stretches and exercises that I did in physical therapy have become a part of my whole process of playing basketball," she says. "These ways of strengthening my legs are things that I'll keep with me forever." Jazzy hopes to play basketball in college and says her recruiting process is very open right now.

Jazzy tells other young athletes with injuries not to get discouraged. "You can have a bad moment, that's understandable, but don't let it turn into a day, a week or even a month," she says. "Just have that moment, recollect and keep pushing."

Want to learn more about the exercises J.P. recommends to young basketball players? Check out this article and warm-up program designed to help prevent injuries like Jazzy’s. 

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