Jordan earns scholarship after enduring five surgeries
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera Coyotes softball player Aislynn Jordan, second from left, signs her National Letter of Intent to play at Jamestown University. Watching her sign are, from left, mother Kenna, grandmother Brenda Hernandez and sister Trinity.
For most high school student-athletes, the thought of having surgery, thus postponing their athletic career, would tough to overcome. For Aislynn Jordan, she had to come back from not one, not two, but five knee surgeries in a 13-month span and still earned a softball scholarship to Jamestown University in North Dakota.
“Softball kept me busy and kept me motivated to know there is something I could come back to rather than have these surgeries and become a couch potato,” she said. “All my teammates helped push me through it, too. I couldn’t wait to be back with them.”
Jordan got in touch with Jamestown through a family friend and intended to go there for nursing.
“There’s a family friend that goes there,” she said. “I hadn’t even been looking there. Her parents suggested that I looked. It was the college I had in mind and it fit perfectly. It’s a very small school, which is what I like. It’s in a small city, which is what I like. Being in a big city is not crowd. The nursing program seems spectacular. Some of the professors I met with seem very nice.”
The 3.8 grade point average student wants to be a nurse in pediatrics, orthopedic or labor and delivery.
While on a Zoom call with Jamestown, Jordan mentioned she played softball, although she wasn’t sure if she was going to do that at Jamestown.
“I viewed Jamestown through Zoom and I’d met the softball coach,” she said. “I said I play softball. But I’m already getting a scholarship for nursing so do I really want to play softball? It was out of the blue, but I got an email from the coach giving me a scholarship. Then, I said I’ll play.”
Jordan played third base, first base and designated player in her four years with the Coyotes. She missed her entire junior year because of her injuries, although the season was canceled after 12 games.
“My coach likes to look at the players before he gives them a position,” she said. “When I spoke to him and said I was a first baseman, he said he usually doesn’t recruit first basemen. He makes a player into first baseman. I don’t know what’s going to happen there. They are already having summer workouts so I have to start going to the gym to get that done.
“For what he told me over the Zoom call, he seems to have a good gameplan for the team. He cares a lot for his girls’ mental state and their school. He does a lot of work on the softball field to help his girls. It seems like a good softball program. I know he has seen some videos of me playing because when I spoke to him, I froze.”
However, all of this wouldn’t have happened if not for the persistence of Jordan to get back on the playing field.
“It felt good to even be able to get back onto the field,” she said. “I knew I was going to have a good recovery to get back onto the field and get close to where I was before. I didn’t get to play much this year. The way I played felt really good because I didn’t know if I was going to get where I am now.”
Jordan got her first surgery on her left knee in September, 2019, at the beginning of her sophomore year.
“I had the original surgery because my knee already has arthritis and it was wearing my cartilage away,” she said. “By the time I was 30, I would be crippled if I didn’t get it done.”
A month later, Jordan had to get another surgery.
“I tore some scar tissue and it created an hematoma,” she said.
Jordan went back under the knife in March, 2020.
“They realized the cadaver bone wasn’t taking so they had to take my own bone from my own hip and put it into my leg,” she said.
That was followed by a surgery a month later for stitches that didn’t close and caused an infection.
Her last surgery was in October to take the plate screws out.
“I definitely got used to seeing certain nurses after surgery,” she said.
Although Jordan didn’t get as many chances as she would have liked and wasn’t as successful as she would have liked, she knew that she was getting back to where she was before the surgeries.
The highlight of Jordan’s senior year was in a May 20 game against San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno when she came off the bench and hit a three-run home run.
“It felt so good,” she aid. “You can even ask Coach A (Co-Head Coach Melissa Armiento-van Loon) when I was rounding third and I gave her a High 5 and said ‘Finally!” She started laughing. It was the moment I was waiting for to get officially back in the game. It felt amazing off the bat.
In addition, normally a first baseman with the Coyotes, Jordan received some playing time at third base and held down the position for the first half of the year.
“Playing third base felt weird,” she said. “I hadn’t played in years. I used to play third base, but it was weird to be across the diamond. To play any position felt good to be on the field.”
Now, Jordan is getting ready to head halfway across the country to go to school to become a nurse and play softball. However, her family, who is at every game, is a little sad because of it.
“My family doesn’t want to me to leave, but they want me to leave to have that adventure,” she said. “My grandma already warned my grandpa that she was going to fly to some of my games so they may not miss much. I’m already packing away every single sweatshirt I have because I need all of them.
“I’m nervous for the next part, but super excited,” she said.