Jillian Williams has been a competitive athlete her whole life, fueled by bets she made with her father. The older she got, the bigger the bet. When she was in sixth grade, they bet one day she would be a college athlete. Flash forward a few years, Williams completed her first semester as a collegiate volleyball player for Texas Lutheran University. Her life took a drastic turn when pain above her left kneecap was diagnosed as Ewing’s sarcoma, cancer that develops in the bones. Five months after her diagnosis, Williams decided to have a rotationplasty for the best chance at returning to sports. After the amputation, she got back on the court and hasn’t stopped playing since. She has competed just as fiercely as she had before, only now she plays sitting instead of standing. In 2018, she took home silver at the ParaVolley World Champions ship. A year later she added two gold medals to her shelf from the 2019 Parapan American games and 2019 ParaVolley World Super 6.
Away from the court:
After receiving treatment for her cancer and a rotationplasty, Williams had experienced her fair share of difficulties navigating the system. She decided to start a foundation, Live n’ Leap, dedicated to assisting young adults with life threatening illness.
In their own words:
“My family and I were worried about life or death. So, I mean, when you’re playing with those kinds of odds, it’s like, what’s going to be best for me to stay alive. Now I look back and I’m like, I wonder what it would’ve been like if I would’ve kept my leg. But I also know that if I would’ve kept my leg, I wouldn’t even be able to play sitting volleyball.”
Team USA Page
Team USA: “From Beauty Queen To Sitting Volleyball Star: Jillian Williams Shines On Both Stages”
Seguin Today: “Former Bulldog Jillians Williams Named To Team USA Sitting Volleyball For Paralympic Games”
Volleyballmag.com: “After Choosing Amputation, Jillian Williams Finds New Home In Sitting Volleyball”
- Sport: Jillian Williams
- Limb Difference: Left above knee
- DOB: March 5, 1997
- Residence: Odem, TX
- College: Texas Lutheran