Not even partial deafness can stop Abby Jensen
Idaho State's outside hitter Abby Jensen, sophomore, may be partially deaf, but she isn’t letting that slow her down!
In 2015, the California native was also named Freshman of the Year by the Western Athletic Conference. Jensen took gold while playing for Team USA in the 2016 Pan American Deaf Volleyball Games and the 2016 World Deaf Volleyball Championships.
"My parents raised us to believe [being deaf] wouldn't hold us back from anything," Jensen told the NCAA. "I don't think it really held me back from anything, and I think I was still able to participate in everything and grow up normal…I'm sure it's made me stronger in some ways and more confident."
Jensen’s older brother is also deaf, so once Jensen was born her parents had her tested and discovered she was partially deaf. By the time Jensen was a toddler, she used hearing aids to help hear.
"I hear best out of my right ear," Jensen said to the NCAA. "I hear a lot more than my left. My left ear, I don't get a whole lot out of."
According to the USA Deaf Federation, to qualify for the federation athletes must have a hearing loss of 55 decibels (dB) or greater in the better ear and hearing aids cannot be used while playing.
"The way I saw it was that regardless of the disabilities you have or don't have, volleyball is the same all around," Jensen told the NCAA. "Whether you can hear on the court or not, you'd be surprised at whether you're talking a whole lot on the court, volleyball is the same. It's the same game. It's kind of cool to have seen that firsthand."
Click here to see which drills helped turn Alisha Glass into a three national champion and a starting setter on the 2016 U.S. Olympics volleyball team.