Two-sport athlete Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 bid an early goodbye to her Yale sports career last week.
After suffering a season-ending injury in the women’s soccer team’s match against Dartmouth last October, goalkeeper Jackson-Gibson came back into action for the first three games of the 2012-’13 season. The dynamics keeper totalled 12 saves and earned a save percentage of .800 during the opening games of the season. But during last week’s match against Sacred Heart, the two-sport athlete tore her ACL when she jumped to make a save and landed hard on her left foot. Jackson-Gibson told the News she will not return to compete in soccer or track and field for the remainder of her time at Yale.
“This is going to be one of the biggest mental challenges of my life so far. Sports have been a major part of my life for so long … I need to find a way to center myself and figure out what else I can bring to the table,” Jackson-Gibson said.
The injury will take eight months to heal, Jackson-Gibson explained, adding that she expects to undergo surgery in October. Jackson-Gibson said she knew the Sept. 4 injury was serious when the pain did not recede after several minutes. She retired from the rest of the game. Soccer team captain Jenny Butwin ’13 said Jackson-Gibson always worked hard and pushed herself even in non-Ivy League games such as the match against Sacred Heart.
“It was an amazing save,” Butwin said of the play that left Jackson-Gibson injured. “It was a play not any keeper I know would make. Every shot is a shot she wants to save. We know Adele’s personality is to let nothing by her. She [injured herself] playing the Adele way.”
Jackson-Gibson was recruited to Yale after attending a Yale-Wesleyan soccer camp the summer after her sophomore year of high school. There, she caught the eye of both head women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith and Marc Davis, the head sprints coach of the track and field team, who was directing the camp’s warmups. Both Meredith and Davis soon offered her spots on the Bulldog roster.
In track and field, Jackson-Gibson excelled in short sprints and jumps. After recovering from the fractured humerus she sustained during the game against Darthmouth last year, Jackson-Gibson set a personal record in the long jump. In the meet against Harvard, she won the long jump in a collegiate-best of 5.87 meters.
Women’s track and field team captain Allie Rue ’13 mentioned Jackson-Gibson’s personal drive to get back up and compete in track after her humerus injury.
“Adele is a person of really incredible character … It’s very sad to see her unable to compete,” Rue said.
Jackson-Gibson mentioned the incredible support she has received from her teammates and classmates, saying that their encouragement is “the only reason I can smile every day.”
She said she still plans on retaining an active role within the soccer and track and field teams this year.
“Adele is the hardest-working player I’ve ever seen,” Butwin said. “I know she will be a big part of our success this year, even off the field.”
Before her injury, Jackson-Gibson planned to join a professional soccer team abroad. While her goals are still possible — about half the members of the United States women’s national team have torn their ACLs — she said she still has to evaluate how far she can push herself after recovering from the injury.
“I will always be an extremely active person,” Jackson-Gibson said. “Once I get better, I’ll be right back at it, trying to get back to where I was before.”