One of the most decorated volleyball players ever to compete for the University of Kentucky was critically injured early Saturday morning in a car accident in Lexington.
According to police, Jenni Casper, who played for UK from 2003 to 2006, was driving on Chinoe Road and apparently lost control of her car negotiating a curve near Fontaine Road. Casper's car hit a tree, said Lt. Scott Blakely, of the Lexington police department.
It is not clear whether Casper was wearing a seat belt. Police do not know if alcohol was involved.
Casper, 24, graduated from UK in May 2007.
The accident happened around 1:43 a.m. A spokeswoman for UK Hospital said Saturday night that Casper was in critical condition.
Casper, who is originally from Louisville and attended Mercy Academy, is the Southeastern Conference record holder in career digs, ranks 13th in NCAA Division I volleyball history in career digs and was a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the year.
UK's athletic community on Saturday was stunned and saddened by the news of Casper's wreck, athletic officials said. "This is someone who accomplished so much and represented the University of Kentucky so well," said Mitch Barnhart, athletic director for UK. "Jenni is an incredible individual. Really an amazing person."
Barnhart said that Casper was in the office of Sandy Bell, a senior associate athletics director at UK, on Tuesday. He said Bell was helping her get a job interview lined up. "Jenni was all fired up over that," Barnhart said.
UK Volleyball Coach Craig Skinner said the volleyball community — current and former players — were in contact via cell phone all day Saturday. Skinner spent much of Saturday at the hospital with Casper's family. As a Kentucky native, it was hard to find a player more proud to be a UK Wildcat, Skinner said. "Jenni was an intense competitor," Skinner said of Casper's athletic prowess. "She's going to fight like crazy for her life."