Her road to recovery after life-changing accident

Jordan Braund was on the top of the world. She had just completed her junior year at St. Croix Falls high school. Academically she had earned a 3.8 grade-point average (out of 4). She loved family, friends, school and sports. Braund was a very happy teenager and was always driven to be the best that she could be.

“She puts her mind to something and focuses and gets it accomplished,” Tammi Braund, Jordan’s mother once said.

Jordan Braund loves sports. In the fall of her junior year at St. Croix Falls she played on the St. Croix Falls/Unity co-op soccer team that was made up of mostly guys. She didn’t just take up a spot among mostly boys. She played an important role on the team.

“Jordan has been on the Unity/SCF soccer team for four years as a defensive player,” coach Craig Zipperer said. “She never shies away from head to head competition between herself and the boys she plays against. In fact, she's often heard saying, "Sorry" to a boy as he hit the ground after a one-on-one situation where Jordan won the ball.” 

“Jordan flat out right brings it,” assistant soccer coach Carol Kline added. “She's intense, reliable, respectful and confident. She has great leadership qualities with unquestionable integrity. It is without question that she will graduate leaving a well-worn path for others to follow when it comes to leadership and perseverance.”

During the long winter sports season she went to Osceola to become a better powerlifter. Her focus and determination resulted in her winning both the State and National high school competitions for her weight division. 

“Jordan came into my life as a powerlifting coach as a quiet and shy young lady and I did not know how big of an impact she would have on me or the impact that she would make on the high school powerlifting scene,” coach Troy Gildersleeve said. “She may be quiet if she doesn't know you but once you get to know her you can see that she is the most driven young lady that you may ever meet. Jordan started lifting on her own. Her drive and desire to succeed were so strong. All that I had to do was to fine tune her form and there she was at the top of the podium.”

In the spring she turned her attention to track and field. She was a standout sprinter but had her eyes on something special. It was possible with focus and determination that she would be able to break the 22 year old school record in the 100m dash. The record was held by her mother Tammi. On May 23 of 2019 the school record switched hands. Instead of being Tammi Braund’s record it was now Jordan Braund’s. 

Jordan Braund was a happy-go-lucky 17 year old anxiously awaiting her senior year. Of course she didn’t just sit and wait for her senior year to come. She kept on top of her academics and sports and helped out at home. She has an important job being the oldest of six siblings.

“She is responsible, smart, funny, strong, athletic, kind and loving to her five younger siblings who look up to everything she does, “ proud mother Tammi said.

She was on the top of the world and then her life changed.

“On the morning of July 22 I was driving home from lifting at the school and was half way home when another girl swerved into my lane, Jordan Braund recalled. “That caused my car to roll and start on fire. I was upside-down and trapped in the car until the city workers and the police, along with the help of a cement truck, were able to pry the steering column away from my pelvis and pry me out of the car.”

Braund’s injuries were extensive. Her right foot was completely burned and the tendons to her left leg were severely burned as well. Her pelvis was broken in six spots and her left forearm suffered a fracture as well. Braund was hospitalized for two and a half months and underwent at least a dozen surgeries, three in her first three days after being admitted. Her right leg was amputated soon after the accident and then her left leg was amputated shortly before she left the hospital. 

“The left leg caused me many problems,” Braund said. “It had gotten infected and the muscle was pulling away from each other and could see down to the bone. I was told if I let the plastic surgeons attempt to save that leg not only would it be painful to move later on but it would also not function very well at all. So with all of that I, myself, finally told the doctors I wanted it amputated.”

The accident knocked Braund from the top of the world, at least temporarily. But Jordan won’t be counted out from anything. The focus and determination that Tammi Braund said about her daughter continues while Jordan uses those attributes to makes her life adjustments. 

“Jordan continues to show amazing strength in overcoming her recent situation and I am sure that she will stand at the top of the podium again very soon,” Gildersleeve said. “Beyond all that she has done athletically, she has a huge heart. She is humble, compassionate and giving. The love and support that she gives to others is reflected in the support that she now receives from her family, friends and community.”

“Jordan has a drive that seldom athletes have, and we on the soccer team look forward to seeing what her next win will be,” Zipperer added.

Braund is appreciative of the support that she has received.

“Everybody, the whole community, has supported me way beyond what I would’ve ever imagined,” Braund said. “My family and friends specifically were amazing. My mom and dad made sure that I didn’t have to spend a single night alone the whole time I was there. Between the two, one of them slept with me every night. They also brought down my siblings most every time I asked so I could still see them. As for my friends they visited me whenever they could. A lot before school had started and even after it did start they still made time to come all the way down to see me.”

Braund’s senior year in high school no doubt didn’t start how she had envisioned. The accident that knocked her from the top of the world would be difficult for anyone. Braund is making the adjustment. She has hit the bottom and is inching her way back up the side of the mountain. Someday she will be on the top of the world again.

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