We had a hunch, but Jessie Graff has now confirmed that she won’t take part in season 13 of American Ninja Warrior. She made the announcement via a perfect music video that she shared on her Instagram.
The video captures the frustration, but acceptance, she feels over the fact that her body needs more time for rehab and recovery after so many recent surgeries that it’s easy to lose track.
Jessie ended season 12 with a fall on the third obstacle of the Finals course. (She completed the Qualifying course and made it to the eighth obstacle in the Semi-Finals.) A fall that injured the athlete and required surgery. Just after the season ended, Jessie underwent both knee and shoulder surgery. She has diligently logged her recovery process on her social media, including another surgery on her other shoulder.
When American Ninja Warrior announced that round one of the competition would take place in March, we had a gut feeling that wouldn’t be enough time for Jessie. Her announcement is bittersweet. We’re relieved that she knows what her body needs and she’s going to take the time to make a full recovery. We’re also so sad we won’t get to see her on the course this year.
As the video spells out, Jessie feels the same way. She adores Ninja Warrior and movement in general. Taking a step back, while the right decision, is a tough decision. But everyone around her encouraged her to “sit it out.”
Jessie wrote the lyrics to the song and set it to “Shake It Out” by Florence + the Machine. In the video, we see Jessie’s family, friends, and other acclaimed Ninja Warriors all offer their support. American Ninja Warrior host Matt Iseman even belts it out. Akbar Gbajabiamila comes in at the end to really pour on the feelings.
Jessie’s contributions to the history of American Ninja Warrior are almost too numerous to list. Her absence from the season will be noticed by fans. But it means Jessie is doing what she needs to come back strong and healthy when she is ready. We know she’ll be cheering everyone else on as she continues her recovery.