Basketball player honored for returning to the game after a serious injury

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Ariel Petty was told she would never play basketball again, yet not only did the Clements High School student prove her doctors wrong, she's being recognized next weekend for just how well she does on and off the court.

Last year, Ariel was involved in an ATV accident that crushed her wrist. She spent more than a week in the hospital and had to be home schooled for the rest of the year while she recovered. Doctors inserted a rod, pin ,and six screws to reconstruct her hand. The worst prognosis, according to them; she was done with the game of basketball.  “As soon as they told me I just started crying, I was like it was over," says Petty.

Her sorrow didn't last long. She looked within herself and found inspiration from her mother who passed away in 2007.  “My dad was like, 'she’s in a better place, she’s still here with you,' and that really kinda encouraged me to want to play because she played basketball so I was like, 'I’m playing for her,'" says Ariel.

She continued practicing and strengthening her hand until her coach felt like she was ready to return to the hardwood for the season opener. “I wasn’t really sure how that would go, we put her in the first basketball game and she had 18 points. She was the highest scorer of the game. Four-for-six from three-point, so that’s when we knew that she was back," says head girls basketball coach Zach Meadows.

She was back, all right. Over the course of the rest of her senior season, she became the team's second highest scorer, made it to the Second All-County Team, and had the highest three point percentage on the squad. “I really wanted to do this so I had to stick with this," says Ariel.

To anyone else who thinks they can't do something, she shares this message. “If there’s something you really want to do, then you should keep on doing it and never give up, no matter what happens," she says.

Because of Ariel's impressive athletic comeback, and her good grades and character, she has been selected as the Regional Winner of the Bryant-Jordan Scholarship. She will be formally awarded the prize Monday April 11 in Birmingham. Coach Meadows says he'll be in attendance, cheering loudly!

Ariel plans to use the scholarship money to attend Wallace State next fall. And yes, in case you were wondering, she plans to try out for their basketball team.