By Kati Blocker
The second Yosvani Ramos hit the ground, he knew something horrible had happened. He could see his heel bone, but not the tendon.
“I was on the floor sobbing, thinking it was a bad nightmare that I wanted to wake up from,” the Colorado Ballet dancer remembered. “I could see what was there, and I thought, there is no way I am coming back from this.”
Ramos has been in love with ballet since he was young and started performing as a youth. He won the gold medal at the Paris International Ballet Competition in 1998, and then in 2015, he joined the Colorado Ballet. But at only 37, he lay on the ground during a “Nutcracker” rehearsal thinking it was the end.
Six days after the injury, Ramos underwent a minimally invasive procedure to fix his Achilles injury — a technique proven to decrease surgical risk and allow for quicker recovery — by Dr. Joshua Metzl at the UCHealth Steadman Hawkins Clinic-Denver.
“I have a very small scar and was in a cast for two weeks instead of the usual six,” Ramos said. “Then once I was in a boot, I was able to work that muscle so I didn’t get muscle atrophy, which was a big deal for my recovery. Then, I started rehab.”
And that’s where Ramos realized it wasn’t the end.
UCHealth Steadman Hawkins Clinic-Denver has a marker-less motion analysis known as Dynamic Athletics Research Institute. It’s essentially an avatar — a system that tracks the patient’s every joint — and by taking them through a battery of tests, evaluates their range of motion and strengths. This allows for a specifically tailored rehab program to bring the patient back to where they want to be.
“My recovery wasn’t about just being able to walk like a normal person,” Ramos said. “I needed to be back on stage.”
Ramos said he started small with little stuff and moved his way up to where he is today — back to rehearsing.
“I remember my first day and how scared I was as they forced me to move my foot,” he said. “But there was not one day that I felt I shouldn’t be doing this. It was such a logical process the way rehab rehabilitated me, and in a couple of months, I was doing jumps.
“I worked really hard and am very focused. But I didn’t do it alone,” he added. “And if this was going to happen anywhere, the place for it to happen was here in Denver, where they’re the best.”
Ramos started rehearsing for Colorado Ballet’s “Dracula” in early September — less than a year after his injury — and he’s expected to be back on stage when they open that show in October.
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