Point guard has shown strength dealing with diabetes, other ailments, while playing four years of varsity ball
VANCOUVER — The family name stands for excellence.
She was 5 years old when she saw one of her sisters sign her letter of intent to play basketball for the University of Southern California.
Four years later, she watched another sister sign with the University of Washington.
Allison Corral always figured she would be next, that she, too, would get to celebrate a signing day with a prestigious, Division I program during her senior year at Prairie High School.
That is not going to happen.
In fact, her present-day plans do not include college basketball at all.
The family name still stands for excellence, though.
It still has great standing in this game that means to much to the Corrals, so much to “Allie.”
Only, in her case, excellence comes from being strong enough to continue playing this game.
Her body, after all, has conspired against her for years.
Still, she plays.
For her teammates.
For that name.
Allison Corral is preparing for her final months of basketball with the Prairie Falcons. And she expects to leave the game on her terms.
“For the longest time, I dreamed of playing D-I basketball, following my sisters’ footsteps of course,” Allison said, referring to Ashley and Heather Corral.
But that internal battle was fierce.
Allison Corral was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes before the age of 3. At 6, it was determined she had celiac disease. At 8, Addison’s disease. And before she was 10, doctors noticed she had a salt disorder, as well.
Still, she played.
Practices could become a chore. Muscle fatigue. Blood sugar ups and downs. Games could take a lot out of her, too.
By the time she was 14, she had a feeling that she was just not going to be among the elite, big enough for big-time college basketball.
“It was kind of dream crushing,” she said. “I had to be realistic with myself. I’m glad I knew ahead of time, years before my senior year. Gave me more time to think and plan on what I wanted to do.”
That plan still includes college. Just not basketball. She wants to attend Boise State University, become a teacher and, perhaps, a coach. After all, she knows the game. She is a Corral.
“I’ll always love basketball. I’m just ready,” Corral said.
Corral, at 5-foot-2, could find a smaller college to play. She has the talent to even still dream of a Division I scholarship if, for example, she went to a junior college first. That is just not for her, though. She has friends who used basketball to pay for college but had to go to a college that they did not prefer. Corral said it is not worth it to her, to compromise.
Beginning next academic year, Allison Corral, who has been playing basketball pretty much since she could walk, will walk away from basketball.
“Just being a student,” she said.
Even after figuring the big scholarship was not going to be in the cards, she still entered high school thinking about a smaller place to play.
A couple years later, another setback. Appendicitis sent her into surgery. She missed her last two AAU tournaments prior to her junior year of high school. That is when she had another epiphany.
“I was not that heart-broken that I missed the basketball tournaments,” she said.
Oh, she missed hanging out with her friends, traveling and the stuff off the court. That made her sad, missing those moments. Not so much, though, the action on the court.
“I knew I wasn’t in love with basketball as much as I used to be,” she said.
Finding peace with her decision lifted a weight off her shoulders. She could just have fun for the last two years of high school basketball, playing for head coach Hala Corral, her mom. Ashley is an assistant with the program, too.
Last year, the Corral family found some more magic, helping the Falcons to the seventh state title in program history.
“Junior season was the dream season,” Allison Corral said. “Me and my teammates, we weren’t just teammates. All of us were so close. We knew going into the season, if we put the work in, state was ours. Every day we went to practice, we were practicing to win state.”
All of the practices through the years have taken a toll on Corral as she has dealt with her body’s many issues.
Her blood sugar has to be monitored. She wears an insulin pump. Diabetes is only part of the problem when it comes to her diet, due to celiac disease, which makes her allergic to gluten. Then there is Addison’s disease, which means she does not produce enough crotozel. That makes her body slower to heal from any stress such as injury or illness.
She takes medication daily, and her doses increase during stressful times.
Not exactly ideal for an athlete.
“It’s really hard to go up to a coach and say, ‘I don’t feel good. I need to sit out,’” Allison said.
Not as difficult anymore with her mom as the head coach, but certainly it was a challenge in the past.
Allison wondered if the coaches thought she was just taking a break for no other reason than not wanting to practice.
“I’ve never done that,” she said.
When the blood sugar drops, though, she has to head to the sideline, drink some juice, regain her focus.
“Everything she has is treatable,” her mom says. “It’s something we can manage. But going through it every day is hard. There are days she feels absolutely terrible. She battles through it and guts it out. She never wants to sit out practice. Most of her teammates understand she has to take a break.”
For most of her life, Allison Corral has been a regular at doctor’s appointments. Her medical team has charted just about every point of data possible. Years ago, Hala said, Allison was projected to be as tall as her sisters. Ashley is 5-9 and Heather is 6-1.
No one has told Allison that she is 5-2 because of her health issues, but it is clear the family believes those issues played a contributing factor.
“They really don’t know why her growth stopped,” Hala Corral said. “Everything was on target. Then everything just stopped.”
So instead of heading to a power conference to play college basketball as a 5-10 super athlete, the 5-2 Allison is just hoping to be the best high school point guard she can be this season.
The team’s expectations remain high. Prairie graduated three starters last year and another starter moved out of state. Allison is the lone returning starter. And of the other players in the main rotation last season, only one returns.
The Falcons, playing their traditional tough schedule, started this season 2-4.
Allison Corral said she still believes this team will improve enough to make it back to state. The plan is to place, to bring home a trophy to Prairie.
As far as her personal goals, she knows what she wants out of her senior season.
“If it’s going to be my last time playing basketball, just have as much fun as possible while winning and being the best leader I can be,” she said.
If this truly is the end of her basketball career, Allison Corral maintained the family legacy … in her own way.