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Men's basketball: Freak hand injury ends Jake Rambow’s season

WILLMAR — Jake Rambow, a three-sport athlete while a Willmar Cardinal and now a two-sport athlete at Ridgewater, will have his left hand in a cast until mid-April as the result of an accident at basketball practice Feb. 19.

The 6-foot sophomore forward signed in January to play baseball at Valley City State (N.D.) starting next fall.

While running sprints between drills with teammate Jeremy Olson, also from Willmar, Rambow braked hard against the closed double-doors, at the spectators’ entrance to the gymnasium. As his body slammed up against the door his hand punched through the small rectangular, vertical window and its steel mesh.

He didn’t realize at first what had happened but when he looked down “blood was shooting everywhere.

“It looked like it was squirting from a water bottle,” Jake said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “It was awful.”

He applied pressure with his right hand and ran to the other side of the gym saying “I need help, I need help.”

There was a two-inch laceration below the palm on the pinky side.

He hurried to the training room, just off the hallway, along with coach Bob Knutson and teammates.

Wrestling coach Tom Beyer came to the scene and began applying towel after bloody towel to slow the blood loss.

“He (Beyer) calmed us all down,” Jake said.

Beyer instructed Jake’s teammate, big Beau Herrig, to apply pressure below Jake’s left armpit. That helped slow the bleeding.

 “The ambulance came and we went to the ER at Rice but the ER doctor said there was little he could do and that a hand specialist would be needed,” Jake explained.

He rode by ambulance “with siren and lights flashing” to the St. Cloud Hospital; his parents Jon and Sharon drove in their car not far behind.

Jake was in surgery to repair the severed arteries and seven damaged tendons for 3½ hours. The family got home at 4:30 a.m. in the morning.

“I haven’t had a lot of pain,” he said. “The doctor said it was fortunate that the cut was quite clean. I have to be in a cast eight weeks then I’ll have to rehab. I don’t have feeling in my pinkie and ring finger.”

It’s his first major injury in any sport.

Rambow was a standout in football at Willmar High School and also plays shortstop for the New London-Spicer Twins. He plans to study fish and wildlife at Valley City State, where he could now have three years of eligibility should he take this spring as a redshirt.

His younger brother, Austin, a senior for the Cardinals, signed at the same time to play basketball at VCSU.

Asked about his spirits after the “freak accident”, Jake replied: “It’s going to be a long road but I’m optimistic.”

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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