Blake Rankin realized his high school football career was more than likely over when he felt the twisting and snapping of his ankle after he was tackled during a championship football game in the fall of 2011. He remembers, “It was the first drive and on the eleventh play we were on the 10-yard line. I had never had a significant football injury and I just didn’t think it was possible.” The tackle by the opposing team put quarterback Blake on the ground and wondering if he would ever play football again, or if he would be able to follow through on the scholarship commitment he had made to play football for Rutgers University.
Blake Rankin had surgery on Dec. 8, 2011. He began his therapy on Dec. 21 in the Geisinger HealthSouth Woodbine Lane outpatient clinic in the pool as he couldn’t bear weight on his leg. The normally active young man found it difficult to accomplish simple tasks like using the bathroom or getting something to eat; working out was impossible. However, two weeks later, Blake went back to school in a wheelchair. “I was going crazy,” he said. “I was worried about how long it would take to heal and if, when I get older, the injury would cause other problems or have to be repaired again. It was satisfying to be able to get in the pool and walk and see the therapy in action!”
Throughout Rankin’s course of therapy there were good and bad days. “Some days I could do certain drills, and then the next day I couldn’t. My ankle just got tired and wasn’t as strong.” The therapists helped him keep an eye on his goals; in the short term getting ready for track season. “Thinking about football again just seemed too far away,” he shared. “My first goal was to play basketball since it was my senior year, but as it got closer to the end of the season my parents and I decided it wasn’t the thing to do.” Geisinger HealthSouth therapists motivated the athlete by giving him drive to get to where he wanted to be. On June 16, 2012, Blake represented Pennsylvania in the “Big 33” football game versus Ohio. Not only was he able to participate in the game, but he was named MVP for 2012.
Blake Rankin is currently beginning his freshman year as a quarterback for Rutgers University. “I feel amazing. I felt a little nervous before I left to go the school this summer,” he began. “But my ankle almost feels stronger than before I broke it! I received the best care you can get here,” said Rankin when speaking of Geisinger HealthSouth. “Besides my own experience, just seeing the therapists with the other patients made me realize how fortunate I was and how excellent they are at Geisinger HealthSouth.”