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The City Journals

Volleyball Player Confronts Injury

Oct 06, 2016 04:28PM ● By Tori LaRue

Ginger Lei Wright serves the volleyball to her teammates as they practice before a game on Sept. 13. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

The Taylorsville High School Volleyball team entered its regular season in September without its star player on the court.

Ginger Lei Wright, a senior, tore her anterior cruciate ligament in March at a club volleyball tournament in Washington when she descended from a block, landing on the foot of the outside hitter from the opposite team. 

“It’s been kind of tough, but it is also a humbling experience all together,” said Wright, who usually plays setter and outside for the team. “I can see things from the coach’s perspective and also more fully be able to connect with my girls and work on what I am doing even off the court.” 

Doctors said Wright would likely heal in six to nine months, so she said she’s hoping to return for the second half of Taylorsville’s volleyball season in October. For now, she continues to attend every THS volleyball practice, game and meeting, cheering on her fellow Warriors. The team is young, with sophomores and juniors starting on varsity, so Wright said she does her best to encourage them and give them tips. 

“Even if she can’t come back on the court, she’s been a huge role model for the younger kids to look up to,” THS Volleyball Coach Clint Barnes said. “They want to be like her because of how good she is at the sport and because of her character traits.” 

Chrystelle Salazar, Wright’s teammate and close friend, said the team feels “incomplete” without Wright on the court. Salazar and Wright have played on Taylorsville’s volleyball team together since sophomore year, and both work together to lead the team, Barnes said. 

“We don’t have her vibe here on the court, and that has been a change, but she’s helped us mentally do hard things,” Salazar said. “I just try to remind her how great of an athlete she is. I have no doubt she’ll make a comeback because she’s so hardworking.”

Despite not being able to start the volleyball season in the high school realm during her senior year, Wright claims her injury is “only a minor setback.” She plans to play on her club team later in the 2016 year and in college, she said. Wright is talking with Idaho State, and Barnes said he believes she has what it takes to play at a NCAA Division 1 school. The coach said he’s looking forward to seeing where she ends up. 

Wright attributes her love of volleyball to her father, Taamu Wright. She hated volleyball as a child and wanted to play soccer competitively, but her father, who loves volleyball, convinced her otherwise, she said. 

“He started training me in junior high, and that’s basically the whole story,” she said. 

The father/daughter duo have worked together since that time. On weekend mornings they wake up early, and Taamu Wright coaches his daughter through pool and other low-impact exercises to help her build endurance and keep her skills through her injury. Ginger Lei Wright said her father’s persistence is what will get her back in the game whether that’s in Taylorsville’s volleyball season or later on. 

“I think that just helps me to get pumped up to heal back and get back out there,” she said.