Rice volleyball star back on the court after freak accident

LaPorte player fractures hand in three places

HOUSTON – A Rice University volleyball player is back on the court after a freak accident threatened to end her career.

Jillian Humphrey, of LaPorte, is regaining her strength after fracturing her right hand in three places.

"I tripped and I just looked at my hand and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh' because this finger was completely turned sideways and these two were completely messed up, too, and I knew something was wrong," explained Humphrey.

"All I was thinking about was my volleyball career because that's my life. That's how I'm in school and I just thought it was all over right then."

The Methodist Hospital orthopedic hand specialist Dr. Korsh Jafarnia said usually an injury like Humphrey's would result in permanent damage.

"When she made a fist, (her fingers) were scissoring, meaning that the fingers were turning sideways when she was trying to make a fist," said Jafarnia.

"To have all three broken is pretty severe. Traditionally, before we had all these fancy new toys and plates and screws, we would cast patients and accept deformity."

Jafarnia corrected the fractures with a new, minimally invasive technique where pins are inserted through tiny holes to straighten the bones.

Six weeks after surgery, Humphrey was back on the volleyball court.

"I was like a little schoolgirl just hopping around and laughing and having so much fun, and I'm glad I have that," said Humphrey. "It's fun and I'm back in my element."

The 6 foot, 2 inches tall volleyball star will return to play for Rice in the fall. One day she hopes to play in the Olympics.