Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Mental fight: Jones eyes a comeback to gymnastics after knee injury

Monday, January 30, 2023
Senior Jordan Jones prepares to dismount after finishing her turn on beam during a gymnastics meet on Jan. 27.
Photo by Mark Grogan.

During the 2022 gymnastics season, senior Jordan Jones performed a two-and-a-half twist on the floor event. While attempting her stunt, she over-rotated and tore her lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). After conquering physical and mental obstacles, Jones is eyeing her return to SEMO gymnastics for the 2023 campaign.

One of the biggest mental struggles she had to overcome was deciding if she could even go out and compete again.

“I was really defeated mentally and emotionally after being told it was a career-ending injury,” Jones said. “I had to take a lot of time to mentally prepare myself that if I was going to come back, I was going to put in the work to not just come back, but to come back and contribute for my team.”

Jones said that every day she goes out on the mat, it is a mental game for her. Watching Jones throughout her road to recovery, assistant coach Andavea Alexander recognized the persistence and positivity Jones showed while dealing with her injury.

“Jordan definitely had a pretty serious injury, and her comeback was honestly very surprising,” Alexander said. “I think through this whole time seeing her keep the positive attitude that she has had is really amazing. I think it's very hard for athletes to do because it can be a very frustrating process, but she has been motivated, determined, and she has been a fantastic leader.”

Alexander said for athletes, it can be very difficult for them to not replay the injury in their head repeatedly. Even though athletes put in hours of work in rehabilitation, Alexander said athletes need to trust their bodies again and have confidence in their rehab.

Teammates of Jones have recognized the resilience and leadership she has shown during her process to compete again. Freshman Ailey Kuehn said she has one important job when it comes to being there for injured teammates.

“Always having their back, no matter what,” Kuehn said. “We constantly want her to know that we are there for her.”

Jones made her return to the mat when SEMO’s gymnastics hosted Texas Woman’s University on Jan. 27. Fans can see Jones and the rest of the team when SEMO hosts Lindenwood at 6:30 p.m. on Feb.10 at Houck Field House.