Recovering Gymnast: Meet Jordan Haas Healing from severe injury

Preparing for the beam segment in gymnastics, sophomore Jordan Haas puts chalk on her hands to make grasping the bars easier. Haas has been doing gymnastics since she was almost two years old. "I needed to nail this routine and make sure I didn't mess up," Haas said. Photo Credit: Shawn Stoudt

Walking inside of a gymnasium, hanging bars, trampolines, foam pits and mats are all around. The smell of sweat and determination fill the room and girls are landing their stunts, while others lose their balance and hit the mat. Coaches are guiding gymnasts as they are twirling, flipping and preparing for the next competition.

But for Jordan Haas, this is just a memory. Instead, she’s traded putting chalk on her hands for going to physical therapy and wearing a neck brace to ensure that it can be stable. After her injury two years ago, almost every aspect of her life has changed.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I was in a state of shock and extreme shooting pains, I couldn’t move. I was thinking that I would never be able to walk again.”[/perfectpullquote]

“I was in gymnastics learning a new skill–doing a double back, two flips in the air,” Haas said. “I went to go do my round off and my back handspring before the big trick and the mat that I was pushing off of had a crease. I buckled and then flipped right onto my neck.”

With a diagnosis that wasn’t helpful from the emergency room, Haas got sent back home. She didn’t know at the time, but she was at an extreme risk of paralysis.

“My mom was really worried because the doctor didn’t do anything for me,” Haas said. “The doctor sent me home and two days later, I got a call from my orthopedic telling me to get into a brace right now. If I moved the wrong way, I could’ve been paralyzed.”

Despite not participating in physical activities, she’s recovering at a slow pace. Physical therapy allows Haas to do certain physical activities, but under professional supervision.

“I have permanent damage in my back and I have scoliosis from the crash,” Haas said. “The vertebrae in my spine is going into another one so it got diffused. I still have nerve damage and I have to take Tylenol every day to control the pain. I couldn’t go to school because I was put on bed rest and had a back and neck brace for two months.”

After the incident, Haas has several long-term injuries that affect her everyday life and even prevents her from participating in physical education.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Getting up too fast even makes me flinch because of the pain. When I don’t have to be reminded daily about my injury, I know I have recovered.”[/perfectpullquote]

“I had physical therapy for six months, which for me hurts my neck and back more than usual,” Haas said. “I have to take it easy a majority of the time because if I keep my head down too long, or strain my neck out it really hurts.”

Haas sometimes can go on walks, but even turning her neck fast can inflict pain. Until Haas’ orthopedic clears her, she will have to continue to watch physical activities from the sidelines. One way that Haas has been filling her time is supporting her boyfriend by shouting his name and cheering at football games.

“Right now I have just been chilling because I can’t do anything really physical,” Haas said. “When I am not binge-watching Netflix, I go to Sierra Vista on Thursdays to watch the junior varsity football team and Fridays I hang out with Aiden.”

Haas doesn’t want to constantly worry about the pain she feels in her neck. But, Haas misses the feeling of being upside down and that adrenaline rush from gymnastics she can no longer experience. She hopes she has a full recovery in her near future.

“Sometimes I do get sad when I see people doing gymnastics because I know that I can do that, but I can’t anymore,” Haas said. “When I get fully healed, I want to replace that feelings sadness and being upside down with dancing, another one of my passions. In my free time, I go to my boyfriend’s football games to support him.”

[poller_master poll_id=”713″ extra_class=””]