The stereotypes weren’t true for one high school student. By 7 a.m. each morning this summer, Ella Roaldson was bench-pressing, crunching and lunging her way into her senior year at Jamestown High School. She’d power through her morning work out before hitting volleyball practice at 8 a.m. By 12:30 p.m., she’d hit her personal gym for cardio and weight-lifting, completing her workout just in time to travel to Valley City or Fargo for softball.
Roaldson accomplished many things this summer, but sleeping in wasn’t one of them.
Sports, especially volleyball, hockey and softball, are her life, she said. The daughter of a physical therapist and athletic director, she grew up that way.
So when she slid into second base on June 14 and fractured her fibula, life changed.
The fibula is the smaller of two bones found in the lower part of the leg. It and the tibia, the larger bone, support all of a person’s weight while standing. Because of this and unlike other types of injuries and conditions, a broken fibula usually requires a recovery time of six weeks to three months.
Playing and practicing was out of the question.
Harnessed in a boot and sometimes crutches, she’d observe her team practice and felt withdrawals when she couldn’t participate.
“It was tough, definitely,” she said of watching sports from the sidelines. To get her sports fix, she’d travel with friends to neighboring communities so she could watch others play baseball. “I didn’t know what to do with my life.”
With dreams of earning a degree in education with a volleyball scholarship, the injury devastated her.
“I was very lost,” she said. “Sometimes, I doubted if I’d be able to get back.”
Assisting her in her recovery was the comprehensive orthopedics team at Jamestown Regional Medical Center.
JRMC Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael T. Dean didn’t need surgery to successfully repair Roaldson’s injury. Working alongside Patrick Walter, JRMC Physician Assistant, Roaldson’s recovery included crutches, a boot and a few weeks of physical therapy.
“It was my privilege to care for Ella,” said Dr. Dean.
Roaldson and her family chose JRMC because to them, JRMC is family.
“We know Pat Walter,” she said. “His children are my teammates. We know (JRMC’s Rehabilitation Manager and Physical Therapist) Tracy Anderson. We’d gone to JRMC before and we’d always had good experiences.”
“I’d recommend JRMC if you want a place where you are comfortable. It feels like basically home. Everyone is awesome and nice. Awesome atmosphere,” she said.
“Being a parent of kids in sports, when I heard Ella got hurt, my heart sank,” said Pat Walter, PA-C. “But, I also knew Ella would approach her rehab the same way she approaches training for all her sports, and it paid off. She is such a fun player to watch – strong, agile and intense. I am looking forward to her slamming that volleyball inside the 10-foot line again this fall!”
Dr. Dean cleared Roaldson for volleyball on August 6.
“We’re glad Ella can be back in the game,” Dr. Dean said. “We’re grateful she can represent her school and her community on the court. She’s a hard worker and pushed herself to recover quickly and effectively. Her success is our success and we look forward to seeing victories from the Blue Jays this year.”
Roaldson’s mother, Tara, says the family is blessed.
“Dr. Dean and everyone at the JRMC Clinic and Radiology were awesome,” Tara said. “Ella had the best possible outcome.”
It’s a compliment the team humbly accepts.
“We are grateful for the kind words from all patients and their families. Knowing Mrs. Roaldson has a background in physical therapy means her words are say a lot,” Dr. Dean said.
As pre-season continues, Ella is back in the gym, working to regain her strength as one of her team’s middle hitters. The Blue Jays play Watford City High School at 2:30 p.m. August 29 in Jamestown.