GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) – Transitioning from transfer schools to her senior year would have been difficult enough on its own, but it was easy compared to the challenges Grand Island Northwest women’s basketball Rylie Rice faced over the last years. month.
A multi-sport athlete, Rice played volleyball for the Vikings — after transferring his first three years of high school to Grand Island Central Catholic — in the fall. At the state tournament, Rice felt discomfort in her arm.
“My arm had gone numb and it was bright purple,” Rice told Local4 Sports. “I lost mobility from it and I played that last game and I just knew something was going on.”
She was right.
Initial exams at the University of Nebraska indicated a potentially pinched nerve. The pain worsened, and later tests revealed that Rice had a blood clot under her right collarbone.
“A blood clot is such a serious thing,” said Stacia Rice, Rylie’s mother. “And the fact that it was so close to his heart was definitely something that – I don’t know – it just set me back a few steps.”
Rice suffers from a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome, where the space between her upper rib and her collarbone is compressed too much, leading to issues like the blood clot she suffered.
Blood thinners and physical therapy put Rice on the road to immediate recovery. A few weeks after her arm was immobilized at a 90 degree angle, she was back on the basketball court preparing for the Vikings season.
“It was a very strange, very rare situation,” North West women’s basketball coach Russ Moerer said. “I think for her, the way she handled it, the way she handled it, it’s been amazing healing.”
Last week, Rice signed to play college basketball at Doane University in Crete, Nebraska. It signifies the next step in her athletic journey as she manages her health with new knowledge.
“You kind of find your love for basketball,” Rice said. “When something is taken away from you, it means a lot more to me now… I know anything can be taken away from me at any time, so I just try to cherish every moment.”
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