Featured Player: Jordan Terrio
There’s one thing that Jordan Terrio loves more than anything on earth – that moment when he gets to see the beautiful smile on his little sister Jazmin’s face. Terrio, a talented veteran receiver from Niagara Falls, ON, doesn’t get the chance to go home much these days so he cherishes the few times a week that he can FaceTime with Jazmin and his mom Michelle.
The younger Terrio will be eight in September but her short life has been filled with challenges that have tested the tight-knit family. For this strong, young Gryphon, that smile impacts him like nothing else.
“My sister is my world,” an emotional Terrio says while fighting back tears. “She’s definitely my biggest motivation.”
Jazmin was about a year old when they noticed her physical development was delayed. She was eventually diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological condition in which a number of genetic disorders combined to limit her speech and ability to walk. And two years ago, just days before Terrio and the Gryphons were going to take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees in a regular–season matchup, the situation got worse. Jazmin suffered a massive seizure that left her in the hospital for a month. And from there, the precious child was also diagnosed with epilepsy.
“Everything was almost gone,” Terrio says, the pain of that reality etched in his face.
But like his sister, the Human Kinetics student has shown incredible resilience. In addition to Jazmin’s struggles, he went through his own trials in the 2018 season, having to sit out the year with a heart condition that ultimately required a procedure. Terrio had to undergo an Electrophysiology Study (EPS) where doctors controlled the rhythm of his heart to test the electrical activity. All went well and he was given the green light to get back to the sport.
It’s been a lot to take for someone as young as Terrio but he has handled it all with grace and strength.
Gryphon teammate Nicholas Mirijello has seen those qualities up close. He and Terrio are best friends and former roommates, two young men who are on opposite ends on the personality spectrum. Mirijello is big and boisterous, while Terrio is known for being calm and low key. Mirijello considers that as a perfect balance in their friendship, which has been important for each of them throughout their time in Guelph.
“We have seen each other go through a lot of ups and down but we always use each other as a support system,” he says. “I have seen him go through a lot with Jazmin and his own health issues. He was always there as a big brother, commuting to Hamilton to see her in the hospital frequently. And when she was out, he made the trip home to Niagara to spend time with her. I know it was tough for him to see her in the hospital but he stayed strong and positive.
“I know he would do anything for her.”
Gryphon quarterback Theo Landers acknowledges how close the team’s room is. When the players found out about the severity of Jazmin’s situation, they wanted to make it clear that they had Terrio’s back.
“It’s a lot more than football,” says Landers. “Jordan is a brother to us and he knows that if there’s anything we can do, we’ll be there willing to help him.
“Regardless of what he’s going through, he always has a smile on his face and that translates throughout the locker room. We know he’s going through tough times but to see him smiling, it feeds to the rest of the team.”
While Jazmin is never far from his thoughts, Terrio is eager to get back on the field again and resume his collegiate career. Those around him know exactly what to expect.
“It was tough for him to sit out the season because he loves football and from my experience of being injured, I knew what he was going through not being able to play,” says Mirijello, a converted wide receiver. “It mentally gets to you but he is strong and always has a positive mindset.
“Surgery was big for him because it brought out a lot of emotions about being able to play and what his future looked like. Luckily, everything went as planned so he is ready for the season. Knowing Jordan for as long as I have and from how close we are, he feels like he has something to prove this year.
“I expect big things from him.”
And Terrio, inspired by the grit of his little sister, not to mention that unmistakable smile, feels the same.
“I’m good,” he says. “I’m taking care of my body. I love playing football. There’s nothing else I want to do.
“And my sister gives me the strength to keep going.”
Written by: David dicenzo