Saint’s McGinnis turns serious injury into inspiration

A debilitating back injury cost Jordan McGinnis most of his junior season on the basketball court.

The St. Stephens senior turned his agony on the court into creativity off it.

McGinnis first discovered the back injury during the summer of 2012 while attending a recruit camp at West Virginia University.

“It started out as back spasms,” McGinnis said. “A few weeks later, it was a pinched nerve. We did an MRI and they found a stress fracture. The bottom part of my spine curves. They told me I’d have back pain for the rest of my life. I’ve just got to deal with it.”

The 6-foot-5 McGinnis missed the remainder of his junior season at Bunker Hill High School because of the injury.

During the offseason, McGinnis transferred to St. Stephens High School, but the pain in his back persisted.

“When I wake up, I feel it,” he said. “It gets better every day. Some days after practice, like once or twice a month, I’ll go home and ice it.”

He returned to the basketball court this past December, helping lead the Indians to the Catawba Valley Classic championship — the school’s third title at the event.

“It’s really been great,” McGinnis said of playing for Saint. “I love it here. I’ve got new friends. Everyone has been really welcoming.”

Before the start of his senior season on the court, though, McGinnis turned to advice from his mother in applying to colleges and universities.

“When I was applying to schools, mom told me to write an essay,” McGinnis said. “I just got on the computer and started typing. It came to me.”

The topic of the essay was to recount an incident or time when experiencing failure.

The response to McGinnis’ 598-word writing, which focused on his nagging back ailment, was tremendous.

Several schools, including Guilford, Campbell and King’s College, have expressed serious interest in McGinnis.

“I’ve been a decent writer, but I didn’t think I’d get so much money to go to school for it,” McGinnis said. “It’s pretty special.”

Despite his lingering ailment, McGinnis ponders playing basketball at the next level.

“I’m a little up and down about it,” he said. “Some days I do want to keep playing. Other days, I just want to think about my future after basketball.”

As for the rest of his senior season, McGinnis is hoping to lead the Indians as they continue the chase for conference and state championships.

“We’ve been playing really good,” he said. “The first half of the season, we played pretty stout. We don’t have good chemistry right now, but we’ll pull it back together. We’ll get back to where we were.”