Khan learns to wrestle with injuries
At just 8 years old, Jasmine Khan remembers experiencing minor back pain. When she told her mother about it, she passed it off as most likely being due to a growth spurt.
Little did Khan or her family know that these small pains at the time would be caused by something much bigger.
For the next four years, Khan said she received remarks from her classmates, commenting on how her back looked strange, abnormal even.
“I’d never really thought about it,” the sophomore said.
“I just remember thinking ‘it’s just my back,’ but apparently it really wasn’t normal.”
During those next four years, however, the pain became much more intense and less bearable every day. Seventh grade was the year when it had reached its absolute worst.
The pain became so awful to the point that Khan said her aunt took her to the hospital, where doctors told her some rather hard to swallow news.
She would have to undergo surgery on her back because she had scoliosis, a condition that causes a sideways curvature of the spine.
Her case in particular was very severe, with her spine almost completely curving to form an “S” shape which created two noticeable lumps on the upper right and lower left area of her back.
Doctors didn’t know whether she had been born with it or if she developed it when she was younger.
Regardless, she said the doctors had to act quickly.
The idea of surgery wasn’t easy to hear at the time. “The nurse took me to the back where all these computers are and shows me the x-ray of my back, and I just started crying,” Khan said. “I had no idea it was so bad, and looking at it was just so scary.”
The surgery she had two titanium rods bolted into her back, with the recovery process taking a total of five years. For the next two months after the operation, Khan went to physical therapy to work on being able to move her back again.
She said the first month was the hardest, unable to bend her back at all and having to get help from her family to put her clothes on and even get out of the car when she arrived at school. “I have two bars in my back, and I can’t move the same way that I usually did,” she said.
For a while, Khan questioned how the rest of her life would be changed from this surgery. She thought that once her surgery was over, she would have no more pain, and no one would ever make comments about her back again.
“I thought it was just gonna be like ‘okay back to normal,’ but it was very weird,” she said. “The first time I walked, I was all wobbly. It was crazy.”
Now, after four years, Khan is no longer in pain and surpassing anyone’s idea of what she was capable of.
She is part of the drum line as one of the bass drum players and wrestles. “In joining drum line, I was kind of skeptical because I was kind of nervous,” Khan said. “What if I hurt my back again?
But once I put the bass on, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”
When it comes to wrestling, her mother was strongly against her being on the team, not wanting her to even take a chance at hurting her back again. “When she told me that, I just felt kind of useless because I felt like I couldn’t do anything.”
Khan, however, has not let this set her back from continuing to do what she loves. Since her surgery, she has made strides every day in improving her back muscle.
“I lost a lot of muscle in my back because I had to quit working out,” Khan said. “I didn’t want to take a screw out and pull something and start everything over.”
While the initial problem her mother worried about was her back, when wrestling at a tournament on Jan 21, she broke her arm, putting her out for the rest of the season.
Despite being injured, all Khan can do is sit on the sides, cheering her teammates on and thinking about what next season holds for her.