Stronger and Better

Jason Frost recovers after heartbreaking ACL injury

Tommy Yarrish Ian Clark

By Tommy Yarrish, Bridgeland High School

“I thought nothing of it. I walked out of there, thought I would be fine. Come a few weeks later, I have to get an MRI.”

They’ll say it’s nothing. It didn’t hurt too much. He’ll walk it off, and it’ll be just fine.

And then comes the pain. The initial doctor’s visit, the MRI, the bad news, and the start of recovery. Injuries to athletes can rob them of promising careers, no matter how hard they work to get back into shape.

An ACL injury is a universal heart breaker. It’s been known to significantly weaken and even end careers all over sports, with athletes like Derrick Rose and Bridgeland’s Jason Frost becoming victims.

Six foot-eight junior Frost was just playing a regular Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) game over the summer of 2018. It was an inbound play he must’ve run a million times in his career. And then he heard a pop in his knee.

He didn’t know it then, but that pop would sideline him for his first ever varsity season.

Although it didn’t seem like much to him at the time, the MRI’s showed he had torn his ACL, MCL, and meniscus, putting him on the sidelines for his junior season.

The Ohio-born has loved basketball since he could walk. His love for basketball started when he moved to Texas in first grade, as he would watch and admire his older brothers playing in weekend tournaments.

“They were the people who taught me how to correctly shoot a lay-up and a jump shot,” Frost said. “And when I look back, those milestones, they were there every step of the way.”

Soon enough, it was Jason’s turn for the limelight. He started playing in those Saturday tournaments, as well as at Salyards Middle School, before finally transitioning to high school ball at Cypress Ranch before moving to Bridgeland his sophomore year.

Frost’s first Bridgeland junior varsity (no varsity at the time) season was nothing short of spectacular. Frost helped his team to an 18-10 record, and his successful season concluded with a 26-point, 10-rebound performance in the last game that he played, a loss against Cy Park.

“A lot of emotions mixed with confusion, anger, all the typical things, but it’s definitely made me a better person.””

— Jason Frost

After the season, it was time for training with his coach, Jermaine Green and the summer AAU season. His team, Iss Jus Uss, was preparing to head to a big tournament in Las Vegas. Frost and his teammates participated in a small tournament to “warm up” for the challenge ahead. But then the injury struck.

“A lot of emotions mixed with confusion, anger, all the typical things,” Frost said on his thoughts after the shocking injury. “But it’s definitely made me a better person.”

And so began the 9-12 month recovery process for Frost. Working with Dr. Luu at Ollin Athletics, his visits consist of increasing mobility with stretches and basic movements, increasing strength with weight lifting, and then decreasing pain with chiropractic care and other basic treatments.

His mother, Katie, was just as devastated as Jason when tragedy struck. She’s the self-proclaimed positive thinker in the family, so, like Jason, she thought nothing of the incident. When reality sunk in, it was hard to bear.

“One of the hardest parts of Jason’s injury has been that basketball has always been one of the ways he deals with stress,” Mrs. Frost said. “Not only did he lose the game he loved, but also his primary way to cope with the loss of it.”  

He might be unable to play for a while, but he’s still found ways to contribute while his teammates are on the court. He’ll sit next to the coaches on the bench, yell out some plays and even coach his team about what to expect from opposing teams on both sides of the ball. Teammates like Alex Butler would much rather have him out on the court with them, but they’re grateful for his efforts on the bench.

“It’s good to have him on the sideline too because he’s another one of our leaders,” Butler said. “He helps us out, he points stuff out, and it helps us out tremendously. It’s like having a fourth coach on the team.”

He’s slowly getting back into shape, participating in some drills in practice and suiting out every day with the team. When he’s not running a drill, watching film, or studying plays on the sidelines, he’s working on his shot, putting up a solid 200-300 shots up every day. Head coach Mitchell Doty watches Frost every day, and sees his floor general come back into form.

“Jason is an extremely hard worker and he is ready to hit the gym floor,” Doty said. “He has heart and grit, with that a lot can be accomplished.”

With his first and final varsity season on the horizon, Frost’s going all in. Knowing that he’s got one shot left in his high school career, he’s ready to show the world what he’s got.

“I think it’s easy for me to get caught up in the therapy and say I’m not as strong as I used to be,  I’m not as good as I used to be, I’m not the same player that I used to be. And what I want to let people know is that that’s 100 percent true, ’cause I’m going to be stronger than I was and I’m going to be better than I was.”

This story was originally published on The Bridge on January 29, 2019.