WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Nickerson’s Ava Jones has signed her National Letter of Intent (NLI) to play basketball for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.
A little over four months ago, Ava committed to play basketball at the University of Iowa. Two days later, an impaired driver hit her and three members of her family on a sidewalk in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ava and her mother, Amy, suffered very serious injuries. Her father, Trey, suffered very critical injuries and died a few days later. Luckily, Ava’s younger brother was treated and released almost immediately, and her older brother was not with them.
Ava faces a long road back to playing the game she loves, but her dream of being a D-1 athlete came true on Wednesday when she signed her NLI.
“We are signing Ava because we believe in her and she believes in us,” Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder said in a statement made on Twitter. “She is a remarkable athlete with great versatility. She is working hard to return to the athlete she was. When she takes the floor for Iowa, it will be a special moment for all of us.”
“Yeah, it does feel great. I’ve been waiting my whole life. So, it’s great to sign to go play basketball,” said Ava.
Ava and Amy both spoke about how grateful they are not only to the University of Iowa but to the Nickerson community.
“It feels like a blessing because we didn’t know if it was going to happen or not. We just didn’t know how we would all recover,” said Amy.
“To my family … my dad … my mom … And then my brothers and then all my grandparents. I love them all so much. To the community of Nickerson. It has not been easy for my family, but it’s just unexplainable of how, like, grateful I am of you.” said Ava. “It’s like unfathomable. Like, just crazy. The support that I’ve gotten and my whole family has gotten is crazy.”
Both Ava and Amy were away from Kansas for over a month and a half recovering. They underwent extensive surgeries and were in rehab prior to their return.
“She’s recovering, even though it’s not as fast as she probably wishes it would be. It’s just a blessing. And I’m thankful Iowa is still honoring her scholarship,” said Amy.
“It’s so great of them to stay around and stick with me through the worst part of my life. So, I can’t wait to go to Iowa and be a part of their team,” said Ava.
KSN News followed the family through the ordeal, the recovery, and the return to Kansas.