Apr 1, 2015
Game Winning Rehab

Four days after spraining his ankle, Old Dominion University men’s basketball player Trey Freeman hit the game-winning shot in the NIT quarterfinals. Behind the scenes credit goes to ODU Athletic Trainer Jason Mitchell and a little apple cider vinegar.

As reported by the Virginian-Pilot, Freeman sprained his ankle during practice after landing on a teammate’s foot. The injury left Freeman unable to walk initially, but with the help of ODU Athletic Trainer Jason Mitchell, he worked night and day to return to action.

The regimen started with ice, compression, and massage, as well as range-of-motion exercises, before progressing to balance exercises on both stable and unstable surfaces. Freeman often arrived in the athletic training in the early morning, and did not leave until the evening. Freeman’s tireless work ethic impressed Mitchell immensely:

“Kind of a pro and con to him is there is no ‘medium,'” Mitchell said. “He just goes hard all the time.”

Just two days after he began working with Mitchell, Freeman returned to the court, playing 12 minutes in ODU’s win over Illinois State, but failing to score. The rehab progressed in the athletic training room, and Freeman also took his rehab into his own hands, wrapping his ankle in a paper bag that had been soaked in apple cider vinegar, something he called “his mom’s homemade Baton Rouge cure.”

Whether it was the apple cider vinegar, his non-stop rehab with Mitchell, or a little of both, Freeman’s ankle improved to the point where he could be an impact player again. He scored 25 points in the squad’s next game, including a 30-foot buzzer beater to lift ODU past Murray State 72 to 69. But praise for the performance wasn’t limited to Freeman. Mitchell got his fair share of credit for his round the clock care.

“He did everything you can humanly do,” said ODU Head Coach Jeff Jones.

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