By Laura Clesse
Druding balances academics and college basketball despite injuries
Jaymie Druding’s last basketball season at Orchard Park High School became a season that could have changed her entire future.
During a game against rival Jamestown her senior season, Druding prepared to take a charge on the baseline. An opposing post player struck Druding’s knee from one side. Her kneecap dislocated and her medial patellofemoral ligament tore.
The injury put an end to the season for Druding, who was committed to play at the University of Maine.
“I had an amazing team that kept me motivated to what was ahead; playing on the Division I University of Maine team,” Druding said of her Quaker teammates.
When Druding delivered the news to the coach at Maine, she was very understanding and believed that Druding would have a successful comeback, according to Druding.
Druding (OP ’10) was not redshirted because Maine’s coach knew she was rehabbing daily prior to her first season at Maine and getting stronger every day.
Druding ultimately decided to leave Maine based on the fact that it was not the right fit for her.
“Division I athletics consumed every hour of your day,” said Druding, a biology major. “It was eat, sleep, breath basketball. I enjoyed it and was very lucky to have had the opportunity to play. As much as I love basketball, my dream is to be a pediatric nurse.”
The University of West Florida has an outstanding nursing curriculum and a Division II basketball program, which places more emphasis on academic success, according to Druding.
“Coming to UWF, I was reminded of why I love playing the sport of basketball so much,” said Druding, daughter of Michael and Cheryl Druding. “It was a new campus, new coaches, and new team. Yet, the one thing that remained constant was the game of basketball. It gave me an even greater appreciation for the sport.”
At the end of her junior year this past season, Druding recovered reconstructive shoulder surgery. After diving on the floor for a loose ball, she dislocated her shoulder and tore her labrum. Druding, who was third on the team in points per game (9.1) and rebounds (6.7), played through the injury.
“In our last game of regular season this year against Delta State, I threw a skip pass and threw my shoulder out,” Druding recalled. “After playing through playoffs I had to have the surgery.”
Druding’s labrum was repaired, bone spurs were shaved down, and the ball was tightened back into the socket.
“Thankfully my rotator cuffs were spared,” she said. “I look forward to making progress each time I step into physical therapy.”
Druding has an eight-month recovery time period, but plans to play basketball her senior season. Patience is key, she said.
“I am so thankful for all of the opportunities that I have had thus far,” said Druding. “What started as a hobby playing in the driveway when I was a little kid became a passion in my life that opened doors for my future. Basketball will always be my first love in life. There is nothing like putting on number 40, lacing up the Nikes, and stepping onto the court representing your school. It is an honor that I do not take for granted.”