Warrenton athlete rehabs sprained ankle with CMH’s Chad Rankin

Senior basketball player returns to finish season

By Sarah Bello

Warrenton senior post Fernanda Alvarez’s basketball season was nearly derailed in December 2018 when she sprained her ankle in warmups before a game. The injury was a “high” ankle sprain, requiring a longer healing time than most simple ankle sprains. Ankle SprainWith the help of CMH’s Chad Rankin, who works with local school districts as an athletic trainer, Alvarez rehabbed her ankle and was back on the court in about a month.

Rankin wasn’t at the game, so a friend’s mom brought Alvarez a boot and some crutches. The next day, Rankin came out to the high school to check her ankle. 

“It was pretty swollen, so he looked at it and said to go get x-rays to make sure it wasn’t broken,” Alvarez says. “He gave me a lot of exercises to do once I was able to move a little more.”

This wasn’t the first time Alvarez hurt an ankle. Rankin says she struggled with sprains to both ankles throughout her high school sports career. 

“The most important thing was to make sure we identified what structures were damaged so we could lay out a plan of action for her,” Rankin explains. “Once this was done, we had to give her time to heal.”Fernanda Alvarez playing basketball

Alvarez says Rankin came to the school many times to help, giving her ice buckets and assisting with exercises. When she was ready, she removed her boot and strengthened her ankle until she could perform functional basketball-style drills. 

Just a few weeks after the injury occurred, Alvarez went back to playing. She helped her team advance to the 3A girls state championships, where they won sixth place. 

“Fernanda’s first game back was outstanding, and she continued to get stronger as a player as the playoffs approached,” Rankin says. “The best part was that she finished the season without a repeat injury or a new injury to her other ankle.”

Without Rankin’s care, Alvarez says she thinks there would’ve been a longer healing process, and she might not have made it back to finish the season.

“He was a great help,” she says. 

In addition to capping off the season with the state championships, Alvarez earned All-League honors, despite missing a month of play. She also had a successful spring track season in early 2019. She plans to attend Clatsop Community College in the fall to study nursing. 

Rankin has worked for CMH since August 2011. CMH donates his time and services to Clatsop County schools at no cost to the districts. He conducts ImPACT Concussion Assessment testing and is available by phone for the coaches and parents, even when he can’t be there in person.