Senior guard Jenny Qian tore her ACL and PCL, two of the four main ligaments in the knee, and her meniscus, a piece of cartilage in the knee, in her sophomore year during varsity basketball practice, when she slipped on class of 2016 alumna Nicole Prowse’s foot and cracked her knee the wrong way while being guarded in a drill.
“It’s still hard for me to walk,” Qian said. “A lot of times I wake up in the morning and it’s really painful.”
To help relieve the pain, she frequently stretches in the morning before going to school. Qian’s injury also means she isn’t able to hike, snowboard, ski, ice skate or participate in any other potentially harmful activities. Her biggest disappointment is the way the injury has limited the number of basketball games and minutes she can play.
“It really hit me hard because I was just getting used to being on varsity as a sophomore and I was getting more playing time,” Qian said, “but after the injury, everything went down, so I had to work hard to get back.”
Qian went through several months of physical therapy, which she still attends occasionally, after her knee surgery and also worked on her basketball skills. She ran on her elliptical machine at home to improve the muscles in her legs, trained her shooting on the court and did workouts such as running and weightlifting in preparation for the basketball season. She worked hard enough not only to come back from her injury but also to become a key piece of the team.
“It really taught me how hard work does pay off, and I wouldn’t be able to play and be a starter now on varsity if I didn’t work as hard,” she said.
Qian recalls the basketball lunch meeting when her teammates and coach Mike Davey broke the news of her torn ACL.
“When I heard that, I was sobbing so much,” Qian said. “But [my teammates] were all there for me and they were supporting me, giving me words of encouragement. Even until this day, sometimes when I get down on myself, everyone just helps pick me up.”
Qian’s teammates said she had been playing well up to that point during her first year on varsity. Her work ethic didn’t go unnoticed by them.
“She is always attentive and always wanting to learn more and get better in practices. Even when she takes breaks because her knee is hurting, she still shoots on the side and helps us out,” senior point guard Rachel Davey said.
Despite the drawbacks of her injury, Qian realized that it also taught her a valuable life lesson.
“Obviously if that injury didn’t happen, I would be able to do a lot of stuff I can’t do now,” Qian said, “but I’m glad in a way that injury happened because I’ve never worked so hard to get somewhere.”