All sports come with risks.
Rules and safety equipment are put in place to somehow try to reduce chances of injury, but they still happen. Concussions, sprained ankles and broken bones occur at what may feel like the most inconvenient time.
That was the case for freshman volleyball player Danelle Parady.
Everything changed during a morning practice before the team played against San Diego on Oct. 2. BYU spent the morning practicing hitting and blocking. Parady went up to block a spike and the volleyball hit and broke her pinky. X-rays confirmed surgery would be required and that the injury was serious enough to keep her on the bench for at least six weeks.
“In the first few hours after it happened, she was pretty mad,” Parady’s mother April Parady said. “Angry only because she worked so hard to get to that rotation spot and stay and play and then that happened. It only lasted for a few hours. Then finally she was like, ‘Obviously that happened for a reason.’ So she focused on getting better. She’s just anxious to help her team.”
Playing for BYU has been a goal Parady has worked towards for years. Parady started playing volleyball in the seventh grade. It wasn’t until several years later after watching a college volleyball game on TV with her mom that she wanted to be a college athlete. She remembered thinking to herself, “I want to be like the person on TV.”
Parady spent countless hours in the church gym getting reps with her mom and brothers. Her goal was to play college volleyball and the best way to improve and prepare was to play as much volleyball as possible.
Her hard work paid off and she was recruited to be an outside hitter on the BYU women’s volleyball team. Parady was also privileged to start off her freshman season strong by playing in several games due to her athletic abilities and her on-and-off-the-court presence.
“As an athlete, she has some great intangibles about her,” assistant coach Charlene Johnson Whitted said. “She’s excited. She’s fun. She’s energetic. So those things can help any player be better when they have those characteristics.”
Parady played in 24 sets in 10 games. She made 30 kills, 91 total attacks, 34 digs and five block assists. She’s averaged making 35.5 points for the Cougars since her last game against Loyola Marymount on Sep. 29. This is her first season playing for BYU.
Parady’s recovery time is slowly coming to a close. She mostly misses being on the court and competing. That’s the most fun part about volleyball according to Parady. But she has been able to see positives through this experience.
“I got the chance during practice to see things and read,” Parady said. “I think I’ve gotten better at reading the game, plus my body got to rest which was nice!”
Parady continues to attend practices and meetings despite her limited physical ability. She continues to support her team through the intangible qualities she has and has remained positive in the process. Just as Parady is a strong athlete, the BYU women’s volleyball team is in fact a strong team in spite of injuries.
“The team has a great team perspective that everyone is ready,” Whitted said. “So just because someone gets hurt, the team doesn’t go, “Oh no,” and fall apart. Injuries effect teams, but this team just says, “Coach, I’m ready. Put me in.” This is a solid team. It’s from 1 to 17 in depth. So injuries are not taking anybody out.”
Parady’s six week mark from her recovery plan is Nov. 16. She’ll be approved to practice more vigorously and aggressively and she’s expected to fully play by the 19th. Parady continues to practice passing in a controlled environment and cheering on her teammates in the meantime. She has reflected on her ability to play and she’s anxious and grateful for the times when she does get the chance to play volleyball.
“I will definitely not take it for granted,” Parady said. “Like every time I heard someone say, ‘I’m so blessed to play,’ I didn’t know what that meant. But now I know what it means, just being out there and playing with a healthy body that lets you be able to do do so many wonderful things.”