Nine months in the life of Billy Ragone
Ragone's rollercoaster road to recovery, from triumph to surgery and the pursuit of one final championship ring
August 27, 2013, 8:09 pm · Updated August 27, 2013, 10:41 pm·
Carolyn Lim | DP
Fifth-year senior quarterback Billy Ragone walks us through the last nine months of his life, from his gruesome ankle injury of the fourth quarter of Penn’s Ivy title share-clinching win over Harvard on Nov. 10 through Monday’s Media Day scrum.
Nov. 10: Ragone’s ankle is dislocated and his fibula fractured after Harvard defensive tackle Nnamdi Obukwelu brings him down at the end of the third quarter with Penn up 21-14. After being given an air cast in the training room, Ragone is carted back onto the field to cheer his teammates onto victory.
“I was kind of just saying, ‘Hold onto it.’ When I was getting X-rays in there, everyone was kind of filling me in on what was going down. The touchdown pass not too long after the injury put a smile on my face. Our defense kind of sealed the deal. That safety sack by [Brandon Copeland] was very satisfying. It was relieving to know that after the injury, things took care of themselves.”
Nov. 15: Ragone undergoes surgery in the morning. The next day, he drives to Ithaca, N.Y., to watch his team clinch the outright Ivy title at Cornell.
“I was able to spend some time at the hotel with the guys before the game and be on the sidelines for something that was really beneficial for me, at that time kind of feeling like I wasn’t able to help the team. Being on the sidelines, trying to get the guys motivated to seal the deal.”
Feb. 2: The team’s letterwinners vote Ragone to win the Edgar Church Memorial Award for biggest overall contributor to the team for the 2012 season at Penn’s annual postseason banquet.
“It was something special, to see how the coaches and players felt about the way I played last season. It’s really gratifying to know those guys have faith in you and believe in what you can do on the field.”
Apr. 6: Penn football holds its annual Spring Game at Franklin Field.
“Spring ball was kind of where I was starting to jog a little bit, getting side-to-side movements on [the ankle], starting to get that range of motion back. So it was nice that I was able to work out while guys were practicing.
“I’d say mid-summer, right before I went home for the summer I was cleared to run and cut, do all of that stuff. Just getting that strength back.”
Summer: Ragone works part-time with Same Sky Bracelet, a nonprofit providing opportunities to HIV-positive women in Africa struggling to lift themselves out of poverty.
“It was a good experience learning about what happened over there in Rwanda after their genocide in ’94, so we were doing what we could to help them and lift them out of poverty and give them a second chance.”
Aug. 6: On the same day that the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll is released with Penn projected to win its fourth outright Ivy crown in five years, Ragone receives his medical clearance and is declared “full go.”
“I couldn’t be happier. All that hard work is starting to pay off.”
Aug. 26: At his final Media Day, Ragone talks about how tantalizing it is for him to win a fourth Ivy crown in his collegiate career.
“It’s something that hasn’t been done a lot in this league. Having that being something that’s attainable is a motivator. You always want to leave your legacy behind everywhere you go, and this is an opportunity to kind of leave your legacy behind in this league. Something that special that could really kind of put the cherry on top of a nice career here.”