Quigley rallies back from torn ACL injury

Gabriel Agurcia

Jenn Quigley grew up in Pleasant Hill. As an only child, Jenn’s father introduced her to the game he loved: baseball. “I grew up watching baseball with my dad,” she said. As a result, Jenn found a passion for softball. “When I’m on the field, all my stress disappears.”

She started playing travel ball at about 10 years old. “I almost quit when I was about 12 or 13 because I didn’t think I was good enough. My dad convinced me otherwise.” When she reached high school she stopped playing altogether, due to those same confidence issues. “But I finally got the courage to play my junior year,” she said.

Jenn had to play for College Park’s junior varsity team, because of her inexperience at the high school level and two year layoff from the game. Just when her fire had been rekindled. Attempting to loosen up her jammed finger, Jenn’s coach accidentally broke it. That, along with poor grades, kept her from the game she loved.

Jenn began attending DVC and started playing softball once again. However, on March 2, 2012, only 12 games into the season, the unthinkable happened. “It had just rained, and the field was really muddy,” Jenn recalls. “I was at second base fielding grounders. I did a crow hop during one, planted my right leg, and it got stuck in the mud. As I turned to throw I heard a loud pop. Even people in the batting cages could hear it.” Jenn had ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament, or the ACL, which is more commonly heard in the sports world.

Four months passed before surgery could be done due to swelling and scheduling conflicts. But a successful surgery was finally completed on June 5, 2012. That was the easy part. The challenges began with recovery.

Jenn had to endure a lot of physical therapy, spending the first few post-surgery weeks working on simply regaining motion and strength in her right knee. “People might not know this, but you have to get your whole leg back to full health, not just the knee. My quad was really weak too, from not being used.” She started running about three months later, but proclaimed proudly, “I was only on crutches for about five days. I’m a pretty tough girl,” she said with a smile.

She remembers the two days right after surgery as the toughest; more so mentally than physically. Relegated to the couch, she couldn’t do the simplest of tasks alone. “I just felt really helpless. I couldn’t even brush my teeth normally. I had to sit on the toilet with my leg up and a bowl.” On top of that, she learned she was unable to redshirt that season because she had played a few games too many.

When asked why she didn’t call it quits and put softball on the back burner, Jenn pointed to her teammates, and the game itself. “I kind of felt like I let my team down,” she stated. “And I wasn’t ready to give up all those playing years. I had put so much effort into this game. My love of the sport and love for my teammates are what pushed me through it.”

Jenn, or “JQ” as her teammates and coaches call her, is now back to full strength, and back to playing the game she holds so dearly to her heart. With just one season, left to play at DVC she’s working towards getting a scholarship to a four-year institution.

She’s also majoring in kinesiology, a field she found interest in when her aunt was stricken with lupus. The ordeal inspired her to want to help people deal with, and recover from, illnesses and injuries, and her own physical battle reinforced that. “I want to be a physical therapist, so I can help people recover from injuries like mine.”