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TCU Student Athlete Spotlight: Jada Butts
January 01, 2015

By Grace Fontenot
Big 12 Campus Correspondent 

An ACL injury was something Jada Butts, a sophomore forward at TCU, had already lived; so when a second ACL injury ended her freshman season, Butts said she wouldn’t allow her knee injury to destroy her career.

During an away game against the Oklahoma Sooners, Butts came down the court full speed after stealing the ball and finished with a layup right before the buzzer to end the half. After an impressive play, Butts landed on her leg awkwardly causing her second ACL injury.

“Val (Tinklepaugh-Hairston), my trainer, said I had 24 hours to cry and tomorrow we start rehab. It was very emotional because I knew how long this process was but I took those 24 hours and the next day I was ready to go,” Butts said.

Butts said she began her rehabilitation with many early mornings and a lot of extra work.

“Some days I didn’t think I could do or should be doing certain things at that time, and Val pushed me hard and encouraged me and was there for me. It was a long process but I knew what the result would be in the end and so I stuck to it,” Butts said.

“Jada is somebody who fights through adversity,” said Raegan Pebley, TCU women’s basketball head coach.

Butts’ teammates described her as a positive light for the team, no matter what the obstacle was.

 Butts said her rehab was a humbling process and that everything happens for a reason.  

During her road to recovery Butts kept a positive outlook and always encouraged her teammates to push through adversity.

“She inspires the team with her own story, she’s the type of player that when she has success, everyone on the team cheers for her.” Pebley said.

Teammates call her the glue for the team, explaining that she’s always encouraging people to apply grit and how to bounce back from hard times.

Whether in her personal life or on the court, Butts resiliency shines through. Keeping a smile on her face through her hardest battles and cheering on her team from the sidelines.

“During her rehab [Butts] was always on the sideline yelling and motivating us during practice,” said junior guard Zahna Medley.

“She’s a fighter, “ Medley said. “When she had her first ACL injury in high school, people didn’t expect her to play as well as she did her freshman year in college.”

Butts put up impressive numbers as a freshman at TCU; coming off a tough knee injury would require her to work overtime.

During a historic win over the Texas Longhorns, Butts registered nine points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Butts averaged 4.8 points and shot 46 percent from the field and 63 percent from the free-throw line. Playing as a small forward at 5-foot-8, Butts proved her presence on the court despite her small size.  “She’s one of our most versatile defenders and offensive players on the team,” Pebley said.

Butts attended Lewisville High School in Lewisville, Texas, where she was recognized as a four-star recruit by ESPN and tabbed as the 21st best guard nationally.

Coming back from a second ACL injury did not seem impossible for Butts; she believed she would be 100 percent by the time season started again.

Now, Butts is back on the court and says she’s playing at 100 percent.

“I’m not playing like myself yet, but I’m back,” Butts said.

ACL injuries are one of the hardest injuries to come back from, and Butts is proving to her peers that going through rehab for her knee a second time will not hinder her spirit.

Teammates and coaches say her faith has brought her far, her faith has helped her stay strong after an emotional injury and year that tested her faith.

Only a sophomore, Butts has proved that she works hard athletically and academically. Butts respectably received recognition for being on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll last year. 

For Butts, a bad break has given her a chance to grow and humble herself.  Butts is proving that a positive sprit and tenacious determination can allow you to overcome any adversity.

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