Ragone has right attitude

On Saturday, March eleventh, Mike Ragone, the heavyweight wrestler by way of Camden Catholic High School injured his left knee in a state semifinal match against his boyhood buddy, Demitrius Hester of Paulsboro. The 6-foot-4 athlete suffered his first loss as a result, but avoided true catastrophy by sheer attitude: "I'm determined to get back," stated Ragone.

For most, suffering a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), one of the four primary ligaments that connects the bones of the knee joint, could have far-reaching, often negative effects. For Mike Ragone, though he is fully aware of the difficult road ahead, the effects are different.

"The day I found out about it, it was tough. But I realized I had to get over it. I realized it was just a bump in the road and I'm determined to get back," stated Ragone in a recent interview with SOR.com.

Indeed, Ragone is looking at the freak accident as an opportunity to build the type of character that he knows will be necessary at the next level and beyond. Often times it is precisely this type of incident where an individual reaches a crucial point and a decision must be made. For Ragone the decision was an easy one.

"This is something that will build character," stated Mr. Ragone, Mike's father.

"Right now, it's physical therapy three times a week and we're going to start the recovery process now," continued Mr. Ragone.

Doctors at the renowned Rothman Institute (whose physicians serve as doctors for the Philadelphia Eagles, Flyers, and Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL)) of Philadelphia are being consulted for Ragone's recovery and their prognosis was a positive one.

Surgery is set for the first week of April.

The timetable, as it stands right now, may enable Ragone, in the best case scenario, to get back in action by his squad's first game this fall. More likely, Ragone concedes, he will have to miss a couple of games to ensure he is back to full health.

Despite the injury, Ragone is brimming with confidence and enthusiasm and remains certain that this injury will help him in the long run. Without a doubt, it helps quite a bit when the ensuing phone calls from collegiate coaches to his high school coach ensured Ragone that his scholarship would remain on the table. All schools but USC have remained in contact, including Ragone's state school, Rutgers.

"Every school has been showing their support," insisted the elder Ragone.

For sure, this is as crucial a time for the schools recruiting Ragone as it is for Ragone. This is the time when the Ragones can get a sense for who truly wants Mike as part of their family.

Although not being able to participate in any of the spring/summer camps or combines, Ragone states that all the schools that have offered him "remain in the game." And while no decision date has been set chances are rather unlikely that Ragone will wait out the process until LOI day.

We asked Ragone to break down his decision process, as if a decision was looming, in terms of what he looks for in a school.

"Education is more important to me than anything. I want to be sure that I am prepared for life after football because you never know what will happen after college. Second is the football team. I want to play somewhere early and I don't want to sit around for the first few years. And third is tradition."

Ragone's attitude, without an ounce of negativity, is without a doubt the most attractive character trait this young man possesses -- all far ahead of his impressive size, versatility as a football player, and athletic ability. A doer rather than a talker, his demeanor could not be better exemplified than by what happened immediately after his match was stopped.

Ragone heard a pop and knew something had gone wrong. It's absolutely reactionary, and quite normal at that, to insist on knowing what had exactly had gone wrong. Putting himself on the backburner he would not leave the arena and insisted on hanging around to see his friend, Anthony Trongone, wrestle in the 171-pound final.

"When it happened I had a choice either to leave or to see my best friend wrestle."

It should be no surprise that Ragone stayed.

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