Zack Ramsay: Prosthesis Helps Star Athlete Achieve his Dreams After Motorcycle Accident
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When star athlete Zack Ramsay lost his leg in a motorcycle accident shortly after high school graduation, he wasn’t going to let it prevent him from realizing his dreams. Thanks to the support of his family and great prosthetic care from his Hanger Clinic team in Long Beach, California, Zack, now 26, is breaking new ground as a deputy in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
High school graduation is usually a time to celebrate accomplishments and look ahead to the promise of a bright future. For Zack Ramsay, though, it was a life-changing period of struggle and pain.
A few weeks after his graduation, at just 18 years old, Zack was injured in a serious motorcycle accident that brought his plans to a halt.
“I was in the hospital for five weeks and had eight surgeries while the doctors were trying to save my limb,” he says. “Ultimately they made the decision to amputate my right leg.”
This news hit Zack and his family hard. He had grown up as a top-performing athlete, lettering in baseball, track, and football.
“He was often pulled off the baseball field to run anchor for the relay track team and after a victory would go right back over to his baseball game,” notes his mother.
As an athlete, he refused to be deterred by the accident and the loss of his leg.
“It is his athletic mentality that got him through the toughest time of his life,” his mom explains.
A Time to Heal
While in the hospital, doctors told Zack he couldn’t leave until he was off pain medication and could walk 100 feet with the help of a walker. Not one to shrink from a challenge, he got moving and was discharged by the end of the week. When he got home, the real work began.
“In the beginning of my [post-amputation healing journey], it was hard for me and my family,” explains Zack. “We all had to adjust to this new way of life.”
His family was there to support him every step of the way and helped keep him motivated as he regained his strength and figured out what he wanted to do with his life.
Pursuing His Passion
Zack has always dreamed of a career as a deputy. He knew being an amputee would make achieving his dream more difficult but vowed he wouldn’t let it get in his way.
Still, the road to his dream career wasn’t as smooth as he would have liked.
“He tried for years and received no after no,” explains his mom. “This drove him to work harder, and he would pass every physical test he was put through.”
Help from Hanger Clinic
As a lifelong athlete, he wanted to get back in shape as quickly as possible, and he knew a prosthesis could help him get there. While Zack was still at the hospital, his mother reached out to Hanger Clinic to get the process started, and he quickly hit the ground running.
“Hanger Clinic was there for me the whole way,” he says.
Zack’s Hanger Clinic care team helped him find the right prosthesis for his active lifestyle. Over time, with the help of his device, Zack was able to walk, run, and work out again, three important steps in achieving his dream.
For the past year, Michael Marin, MSPO, CPO, prosthetist/orthotist and Clinic Manager for Hanger Clinic in Long Beach, CA, has been helping Zack with his care. When they first met, Michael knew right away that Zack was a high achiever whose motivation would take him far.
“Zack immediately impressed me with the manner in which he carried himself and with the confidence he exuded,” Michael recalls. “I had a sense there was nothing that would get in the way of him achieving the goals he set out for himself, and that his drive and determination would make my job easy.”
Zack is grateful for Michael’s support. “He helps me with anything I need, and he goes out of his way to see me and fix any problems I have. I love Hanger Clinic and enjoy the people who work there. They’ve done a lot for me.”
Breaking New Ground
With the support of his family and Hanger Clinic, Zack graduated from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy and realized his dream of becoming a deputy. He is the first amputee to go through the academy and the second amputee to work in his department.
“I want to keep being the first to accomplish something in this department,” he says. “I want to help people and inspire others to chase their dreams.”
According to Michael, Zack is already doing just that.
“Zack was able to recover from a traumatic event and accomplish a feat not many people are capable of doing, especially as an above-knee amputee. He is an incredible athlete with exceptional mental fortitude, and I believe he displays that on a daily basis. It has been inspiring for us here in our clinic to be around him as he continues to lead by example.”
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