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Thrower Jordan Miller battles through shoulder injury

Story by Megan Henry

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Three years ago, Jordan Miller began her career as a freshman thrower for the women’s track and field team.

Two years ago, Jordan Miller was struggling with throwing the shot put and asked her coach if she could try throwing javelin. What began as an idea to get her mind off of the shot put slowly transformed into her best event.

One year ago, Miller placed sixth at nationals in javelin and had no one to thank but her coach – the same coach who told her she had “raw talent” just a year earlier. The one who spent countless one-on-one practices with her perfecting her form. The same coach who was unable to watch her perform in person because the closest he could get to the field was through the “ZK” stitching on her uniform.

Coach Zach Kinder died from severe cardiac arrest in August of 2014.

“It’s kind of, I don’t know, the event coach Kindler and I bonded over,” Miller said. “[At nationals] I thought about him because it was the event we had together and I was just like ‘Gosh darn it, I really wish he was here to see it.'”

Soon after the national meet, though, Miller visited a doctor about shoulder pain that she was experiencing. The pain was in the same area she had previous surgery on the summer before her sophomore year.

“When [the doctors] went in there and found it, it ended up being worse than they thought,” Miller said. “A piece of my rotator cuff had chipped off and my labrum had come completely detached from the bone.”

The surgery left Miller in a sling for nearly six weeks and out for most of the indoor season. Eventually, she began rehab and will get to throw javelin for the first time in nearly a year in the upcoming weeks.

“It was a pretty slow recovery at the beginning, but right now I think I’m starting to see the results of it,” Miller said. “I definitely have seen an improvement, and it feels better than it did before surgery.”

Miller currently practices javelin once a week since the activity leaves her shoulder sore. In the meantime, she’s been competing in discus, shot put and hammer throw. Miller considers her performance in the three events “average” as she doesn’t perform well as often in them as she did with the javelin.

However, Miller has thrown well enough in the three events that she believes she will compete in them at the Heart of America Conference meet at the end of the season. Still, she is most excited about having the opportunity to throw javelin again.

“[My shoulder] has gotten better to the point where I think I can throw several in a row at a meet, and I’m really looking forward to see if it actually is getting better and if it will hold up,” Miller said.

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