Everything pointed toward a breakout 2018 campaign for Concordia Lutheran senior libero Fran Jabbour.
She had been coming off a season in which she was named to the TAPPS All-District 3-6A second team and was two seasons removed from helping lead Concordia Lutheran to the TAPPS 6A State Championship.
Prospects of finishing her career off with another stellar season came to a halt, though, when she sustained a torn ACL at a preseason tournament in Dallas.
“The hardest part for me about this injury was that it was so unexpected,” Jabbour said. “I was in the gym everyday in the summer, usually twice a day. I had grown as a player a lot and finally decided that I wanted to play in college. When I got hurt I was devastated but my coaches were there with me through the whole process; texting me and calling me waiting to get results for me and praying with me.”
A superb player on the court, Jabbour’s value this season has come from the sidelines. She’s still with the team on a daily basis, attending games and practices while she rehabs her injury.
“Volleyball, and especially Concordia volleyball, is who I am,” Jabbour said. “I don’t know life without it. They have been so good to me, so it’s something that now I could give back for all the countless things they have done for me.”
Concordia Lutheran head coach Kim Odinga lauded Jabbour’s ability to communicate, which has helped her continue being an invaluable asset to the team.
“It's easy to have a strong bond with Fran,” Odinga said. “She has the ability to speak with adults on a personal level. … Her voice, encouragement and work ethic always set Fran apart.”
Jabbour has been playing volleyball since she was 8 years old and doesn’t plan on giving up on it just yet, despite the significant injury. She’s been rehabbing diligently at the Houston Spine and Rehabilitation Center and also credited Concordia Lutheran for its support throughout the process.
No matter if she plays in college or not, she hopes to get on a pre-med track in the hopes of opening her own practice to become a cosmetic dermatologist.
“It seemed like the injury would really affect me in a negative way but it has honestly done the opposite,” Jabbour said. “I have began to play again little by little and now I am way more grateful for even being able to serve.
“I think now when I begin to play again I won’t take anything for granted, so it was a blessing in disguise.”
Jabbour grew up playing the game with fellow Concordia Lutheran seniors, Isabel Zelaya and Savannah Whitfield, and sophomore Brooke Frazier. Zelaya was voted the 2018 VYPE TAPPS Private School Player of the Year in 2017 while Whitfield and Frazier were selected the All-District 3-6A first team.
“[Jabbour, Whitfield and Zelaya] have been playing on Varsity together for the past 3 years,” Odinga said. “They have ended up in the state tournament every year, so they don't know any other ending to the season.”
That fearsome foursome will have a different look for the team’s upcoming TAPPS 6A postseason run, which begins Nov. 9. The Crusaders (41-9, 10-0), put the finishing touches on their TAPPS District 4-6A title with a 3-2 win over St. Agnes last Saturday.
You can bet Jabbour will continue to make her presence felt this postseason, one way or another.
“I learned that nothing last forever and with hard work put in I will be able to continue my goals one day.” Jabbour said. “ I think that I had the natural reaction [of being upset] at the beginning of the season but now my roles have changed and I feel really supported by everyone, so I hope I can now support them in the way they have helped me.”