Pine Grove, CA
California State University, Sacramento
M.A. Therapeutic Recreation, Fall 2012
Jessica was an extremely active child and in high school, she was, in her own words, one of the “jocks”. She started water skiing at the age of four, was a competitive gymnast and pole vaulted for the Moreau Catholic High School and was recruited by numerous colleges. On January 19, 2003, while taking a jump in the snowboard park at Sierra Nevada Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe she had a bad landing and broke her back resulting in paralysis at the T-11 level. Her dreams of going to college on a pole vaulting scholarship were dashed but her physical aptitude, incredible support system and a fierce determination fueled by frustration with her injury fired her up and helped her through outpatient physical therapy and allowed her to catch up with her classes and graduate on time. That competitive fire was still burning in Jessica and she needed an outlet. Her mom found an article about a wheelchair basketball team and the next weekend her dad took her to Berkeley where she was immediately thrown into a basketball wheelchair and into a game. Success came soon after and she was recruited by the University of Arizona where she received a partial scholarship to play on their wheelchair basketball team and went on to play on the USA National Women’s Basketball Team. Jessica went on to adapt her water skiing skills so that she could get back on the water. She later became a triple Gold Medalist and pending world record holder in disabled water skiing. Through adaptive athletics, Jessica has met some amazing people and has learned the importance of priorities in one’s life. The University of Arizona has the biggest adapted athletics program in the country including wheelchair basketball, tennis, rugby and road racing. While Jessica loved her time at the University she was disappointed that it was necessary to go out of state just to play sports in school. Jessica will study for a master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Sacramento State University. She will compete on the Sacramento State Water Ski Team and anticipates that she will be the only paraplegic athlete on the team. She hopes that this will help to kick-start an adaptive athletic program at the university. The future is bright for Jessica and Swim With Mike is proud to have her on board.