From injury to victory: An inspiring story about 19-year-old Jordan Fortunato

Once he fell on top of the other player and heard a pop in his ankle, Jordan Fortunato knew his basketball career could be sidelined for a long time.

Fortunato is a 19-year-old student athlete from Milford, Conn. whose life has revolved around basketball ever since he was in high school.

Back in June 2022, he fractured his ankle while playing basketball at his local gym with friends. His team was winning when, as Fortunato went up for a shot, he knocked down the player in front of him. When he was falling to the floor, his foot collided with the other player.

That was when he heard his right ankle pop.

“The pain was so excruciating and something I never have felt before and never want to feel again,” said Fortunato. “It felt like my world ended at that moment and [I] knew what was going to happen from that point on.”

After forcing himself to get up, Fortunato went to the emergency room. He waited about five hours to find out the ankle was fractured and that he couldn’t play basketball for at least two months.

“Hearing that I couldn’t play for that long really scared me,” said Fortunato. “I knew I wasn’t going to be playing to my full potential when tryouts started and I knew I had to like work super hard to get back to where I needed to be with physical therapy.”
He was devastated to hear the news because he needed to train for the upcoming season at Gateway Community College.

“My son was very heartbroken over his injury and when he came home that night my heart dropped into my stomach,” said Grace Fortunato, his mother. “I didn’t know what was to come or if he needed surgery or if he would be able to play again, it’s a lot for a mother to see her child in so much pain.”

Injuries are always a possibility in any sport. Every athlete takes that chance the second they step onto that field or court. An injury is a setback, but an athlete must be determined to overcome all adversities.

In the National Basketball Association (NBA), game injuries occur when players fall or get hurt elsehow on the court. There have been numerous injuries that players come back from and are inspiring to others who may have setbacks as well.

There are fans that look up to players like LeBron James or Michael Jordan because they are team players and have great personalities.

One player who stands out in the NBA that came back from a devastating injury was Shaun Livingston, a player of determination who defied all odds.

He was playing against the then Charlotte Bobcats in the 2006-07 season. Livingston was doing a simple lay-up and tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and lateral meniscus, while spraining his medial collateral ligament (MCL), as well as dislocating his patella and tibio-fibular joint

That landing destroyed his knee. In fact, he almost had to get his leg amputated. He was in physical rehab for months before he could return to the game, and just like Fortunato, it took a couple of months to get back to the sport and practice again.

“I know that all he wants to do is play and be a better player,” said Grace Fortunato. “But we always warned him of the possibility of injury and that if that day were to ever come, he would have to follow doctor’s orders and focus on a quick but safe and speedy recovery.”

Both Fortunato and Livingston had love for the sport and the determination to get back to where they were before the injury.

Fortunately, Fortunato was put into a boot and could still walk with crutches. After countless physical therapy sessions and much hard work, he was able to return to where he was before the injury and ended up making the Gateway Community College men’s basketball team.

As for Livingston, “he sat out all of the 2007-08 season, then returned with the Miami Heat the next year, playing in just four games. Now, Livingston is with the Milwaukee Bucks. He spent last season with the Charlotte Bobcats, averaging 6.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.”.

Comeback stories are inspiring to others who may be facing a similar hardship.

“The importance of inspirational stories is enormous in our lives as we all need a motivational force to keep our hopes alive and increase our productivity,” said Arjya Kumar Mishra, the vice president of human resources at Genus Power Infrastructures Ltd. “This also helps to improve the value system and we tend to become grounded. Being a reader we relate our life with the character in some ways.”

“Basketball has been a big part of my life,” said Fortunato. “Without basketball, I’m not sure where I would’ve been in life. It has brought me so much happiness and I truly believe this is the sport I was meant to play. I may have setbacks but with hard work and determination, I know I can do anything.”