Volleyball Player Leaves the Chair

Volleyball player Erianna Williams poses in front of the American River College main gym. (Photo by Ashlynn Johnson)

At this time last year, Erianna Williams, middle on the ARC volleyball team, was in a wheelchair, relying on her mom and sister to lift her in and out of bed.

Today, she is a crucial member of a team that is 11-0 with only a few games left until playoffs.

In the summer of her senior year of high school, Williams was playing club volleyball when she came down from a hit and said she knew “something wasn’t right.”

She had two hairline fractures in both her left and right shins and had suffered from shin splints for years.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to play volleyball again. For a second, I thought I wouldn’t walk again,” said Williams.

In order to heal her legs, she was required to spend eight months in a wheelchair, followed by four months on crutches and a few more months in physical therapy.

However, William’s recovery was natural, meaning no screws were necessary in the healing process.

Williams spent her senior year at El Camino High School, attending home volleyball games and watching from the sidelines.

“I learned things I wouldn’t normally learn. Watching helped me progress as a player on and off the court. I thought, ‘if I do ever come back, it’s going to be a miracle,’” Williams said

A year later, after full recovery, Williams contacted ARC head coach Ashlie Frame and gained a spot on the ARC team despite her recent injury.

“Erianna was a great athlete and player prior to her injury …  even though she was out for a while, it was just a matter of time before she caught up to the game,” said Frame.

After a few games with the ARC team, Williams began to adjust to college-level volleyball.

“When I first started playing, it was not what I expected. My teammates helped me adjust to the faster pace. They helped me get better with each game,” said Williams.

Even after her injury there are still things Williams cannot do to full ability, including running and jumping, but she insists that her team is completely supportive.

“They don’t see it as a weakness. They see me as part of the team. Just because I can’t do certain things … they still accept me,” she said.

Frame was hopeful in her prediction for Williams’ future in volleyball.

“As long as she keeps monitoring her pain and rehabbing, she will have a long collegiate career here, and at a four-year program,” said Frame.

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