Rice recovers from ‘really scary’ blood clot to finish prep basketball career at Northwest

Local4 News at 10
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 10:55 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 21, 2022 at 11:17 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The transition of transferring schools for her senior year would have been difficult enough on its own, but that was easy compared to the challenges Grand Island Northwest girls basketball’s Rylie Rice has had to face over the last few months.

A multi-sport athlete, Rice played volleyball for the Vikings — post-transfer from her first three years in high school at 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 of it and I played that last game and I just knew something was up.”

She was right.

Initial examinations at the University of Nebraska indicated a potentially pinched nerve. The pain became increasingly worse and later tests revealed Rice had a blood clot underneath her right collarbone.

“A blood clot is such a serious thing,” said Stacia Rice, Rylie’s mother. “And having it be so close to her heart was definitely something that — I don’t know — it just took me back a couple of steps.”

Rice suffers from a condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, where the space between her uppermost rib and collarbone is compressed too tightly, leading to problems like the blood clot she experienced.

Blood thinners and physical therapy got Rice on the immediate recovery path. In a matter of weeks after her arm was immobilized at a 90-degree angle, she was back on the basketball court prepping for the Vikings’ season.

“It was a very odd, very rare situation,” Northwest girls basketball coach Russ Moerer said. “I think for her, the way that she’s managed it, the way that she’s handled it, it’s an amazing recovery.”

Last week, Rice signed to play college basketball at Doane University on Crete, Nebraska. It signifies the next step in her athletic journey as she manages her health with newfound knowledge.

“You kind of find like your love for basketball a little bit,” Rice said. “When you get something taken away from you, it kind of means a lot more to me now ... I know that anything can get taken away from me at any time, so I just try and cherish every moment.”

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