Posted on 07 February 2015.
A four-year window is all you get in high school sports.
For some young athletes, this is ample time to accomplish goals and live out dreams on the gridiron, the hardwood or diamond. But for Boyd’s Alissa Gordon, a large portion of that window was stolen by injury.
RETURNING TO FORM – After injuries robbed Alissa Gordon of two basketball seasons, she has returned to the lineup and become the Lady Yellowjackets’ defensive stopper. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty
As a freshman, the upcoming star athlete was looking at four promising years. When track season got underway, it was clear that Gordon was a special talent with a chance to qualify for the state track meet.
An accident during a hurdles practice changed the course of Gordon’s athletic career.
“We moved the hurdle up so I could three-step,” Gordon recalled. “When we moved the hurdle up, I jumped too soon and my trail leg came out from behind me. I fell and bounced about three times on my hip. I knew it hurt, but I didn’t say anything about it because I had a chance to go to state that year.”
In an attempt to “walk it off” Gordon may have caused even more damage as she continued competing, bearing the pain.
The pain finally proved too much after the Wise County meet and the freshman was forced to the hospital where she learned that she had torn the labrum in her hip.
The injury required surgery and more than six months of recovery.
After missing the remainder of her track campaign and spending her summer recovering, Gordon was cleared to run cross country in the fall of her sophomore year.
Unfortunately one injury led to another. Gordon tore scar tissue and strained her hip flexor in a meet.
“I took a break from all sports to get that right,” she said. “I wanted everything to have plenty of time to heal.”
When she came back to athletics during the basketball season, the reality of the injuries had taken their toll not only physically but mentally.
She could no longer play the game the way she used to, and didn’t know if she wanted to continue playing at all.
TWIN POWER – While recovering from injuries, Alissa Gordon received motivation from her brother Trey. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty
That’s when Gordon’s support system of family, friends and coaches stepped up to help her get back to doing the things she once loved.
Her twin brother, Trey, and coach Lynn Cranfill specifically gave her the strength to continue.
“She got back on it and I was there to help her,” Trey said. “She’s a really strong person and we’re all proud of her.”
Ultimately, it took Alissa two years to get back to where she was – and as a senior she is making up for lost time.
On the court, she’s become the Lady Yellowjackets’ defensive stopper, either as a starter or first person off the bench.
“When she gets in there, I like to put her on the other team’s best player or the second-best player and tell her to get after them,” Brandon Hopkins said. “She has such a great mentality about the game. When you put her in, things get more aggressive and tenacious.”
That tenacity earned Gordon all-tournament honors at Chico and Ector.
She is averaging 4.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and more than two steals a game.
Gordon plays a valuable role on a team that has surprised many by already clinching a playoff spot.
The Lady Yellowjackets have pushed forward without Cranfill on the bench for most of the year as he undergoes further treatment for cancer. Athletic director and longtime basketball assistant Hopkins has stepped in to coach the team.
Gordon said she and her teammates keep Cranfill in their thoughts and have visited him in the hospital.
“Coach Cran isn’t here with us at the moment, but he is one of the main people who kept me going when I was really down and encouraged me not to quit,” Gordon said. “We’ve done a lot better than we expected and it’s all been for him. We want to play well and make a playoff run for him.”
As Gordon nears the end of her career, she doesn’t think about the time she’s missed because of injuries. She’s grateful for the time she’s had.
“I don’t regret running track or even getting injured,” Gordon said. “It taught me to never give up and keep going.”
Her coach agrees.
“It definitely makes you happy for what you have,” Hopkins said. “You realize that it can all be taken away and you don’t take these moments for granted.