September 10, 2009
A Granddaughter's Love
By Byron Smith
The Talon (University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association)
Grandmothers are a special part of families. They often provide families with their values and traditions. They offer unique glimpses into family history as a living link between the past and present. Those who have or had the opportunity to spend time with their grandmothers can remember many life lessons that are only taught through a grandmother’s love.
Dr. Alyson Hardy Jones is an example of how grandparents can have a profound effect on children. At an early age, Jones witnessed her grandmother cope with stroke-related disabilities. These disabilities left a memorable impression on Jones and sparked a dream to provide future stroke survivors with the tools to have productive lives. Through hard work and perseverance, Jones has achieved her dream of helping stroke victims as a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician with the Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.
Jones’ journey to the Methodist Rehabilitation Center started as an undergraduate at The University of Southern Mississippi. During her time at Southern Miss, Jones was an exceptional student-athlete; her hard work on the court helped the Lady Eagles advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1996. By the time her career ended in 1999, she was a four-year letterwinner and a three-year starter on the Lady Eagle basketball team who played in 107 games, with career averages of 5.7 points and 3.6 rebounds as well as three double-doubles.
In addition to her accomplishments on the hardwood, Jones was also a five-time Dean’s List scholar and a four-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s List. She was twice named an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar, a national award that honors undergraduate students who have achieved academically and athletically.
According to Jones, her time at Southern Miss provided many lessons that helped her become a better physician. Balancing a basketball career and academics proved to be a tough challenge, but it taught her invaluable time management skills that are essential in Jones’ career field.
“Managing 4 a.m. weight sessions, classes, evening practices and games was extremely tough, but I got through it. I really enjoyed playing basketball at Southern Miss.” Playing basketball at Southern Miss also provided Jones with lessons in team-building and flexibility that have allowed her to build beneficial relationships with other physicians and patients. Her experience as an athlete has also enhanced Jones’ performance as a physician. As a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, Jones is responsible for helping stroke victims regain various physical aspects of their lives. Her work includes developing a strategy that combines physical, speech and occupational therapy that help stroke victims overcome their disabilities.
According to Jones, her time as an athlete allows her to be more empathetic with her patients and helps her make better assessments of their physical abilities. When asked about her time at Southern Miss, Jones has many fond memories of her Alma Mater. She thoroughly enjoyed her years at Southern Miss and cannot forget the love and support that helped shape her into the physician she is today. Her advice to current and future student-athletes is to learn time management by putting themselves on a schedule, prioritizing their goals and taking advantage of study halls. Finally, she suggests that students should enjoy their time in college.
Dr. Alyson Jones