Surgeries no match for Jordan Abalos

Photos Courtesy Arizona Athletics | The Daily Wildcat

SandCat Jordan Abalos is a redshirt senior who plays split blocker. 

In sports, injuries come with the territory. Athletes put their bodies on the line and test every limit to perform at the highest level. For many, that means overcoming maybe one or two major physical setbacks. For Arizona beach volleyball athlete Jordan Abalos, however, it means overcoming many more. 

Abalos is a redshirt senior at the UA playing her last season for the beach volleyball team. Over the course of her career, she has suffered countless injuries resulting in six surgeries. 

“It all started my senior year of high school,” Abalos recalled. She tore her ACL and needed both ACL surgery and meniscus surgery. One year later, as a freshman playing for New Mexico State, Abalos needed another meniscus repair. Her senior year at New Mexico State, she would need a fourth surgery. 

“I couldn’t straighten my leg all the way,” Abalos said. “I went into the doctor, and I was like, ‘OK, what’s going on?’ I had partially torn my ACL and developed a cyst. They took out the cyst, and they said, ‘You have three-fourths of your ACL left, let’s try and get through your senior year here at New Mexico State.’” 

Arizona SandCats (L-R) Candice Denny (2), Caroline Cordes (25), Sara Watanabe (44), Georgia Kobel (51) and Jordan Abalos (3)  smile after competing in the Boise State Beach Classic. 

So, that’s what she did.

But not long after playing in a tournament hosted by Arizona, Abalos once again tore her ACL, meniscus and more cartilage. She required another surgery and was on crutches for three months. 

“Then I came here [Tucson] and got my ACL reconstructed,” Abalos said. “It’s been a year, that was last April.” 

In January of 2019, Abalos broke another piece of cartilage. In less than two weeks, she was back at practice.

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“I was going to stick by Jordan regardless of how her injury played out. I wanted her to be a part of our program, because I know what kind of young lady she is, and I know that our young players can learn from someone like her,” head coach Steve Walker said. 

Abalos, who is originally from Safford, Ariz., made her way back out to the Grand Canyon State by way of Keith and Dave Rubio. Keith Rubio, Abalos’ coach at New Mexico State, made a phone call to his brother, Arizona volleyball head coach Dave Rubio, who then got in touch with Walker. 

“Next thing you know, I was committed to UA, which was awesome,” Abalos said. 

On April 13, Abalos experienced her first Senior Day ceremony and was recognized in front of coaches, teammates, family and attendants. 

“My biggest goal after all these surgeries was to finish what I started,” she said. “I have never had a Senior Day, because I was hurt my senior year in high school and my senior year at New Mexico State. This is a huge accomplishment for me, health-wise,” Abalos said. 

Also in attendance was Abalos’ fiancée. 

“He’s been with me every step of the way, for every surgery I’ve had. I think Senior Day for me is just as exciting for him, because he gets to see me not on crutches for once,” Abalos said, laughing. 

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Although Abalos did not compete in the Wildcat Spring Challenge, the final home tournament of the 2019 season, she was able to take part in an exhibition match while her teammates looked on. 

While playing beach volleyball will soon be over for Abalos, she looks forward to being involved in sports in other ways. 

“Eventually I want to get into coaching and into the school system,” she said. “I have three younger sisters and I’m so excited to see where sports take them.”

Abalos is also preparing to move to Phoenix with her fiancée and will earn her master’s degree over the summer. 

“I’m super excited about the next stage of my life,” she said. 

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