Injured quarterback an inspiration

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— Summit quarterback Carlos Ebert-Santos, who remains paralyzed from an injury that he suffered earlier this season, is an honorary guest of the Columbine Rebels Saturday as they play the Bear Creek Bears at the Class 5A state championship.

Ebert-Santos, who suffered a neck injury after he was tackled during a game against Salida High School Sept. 22, has been at Craig Hospital in Denver since Sept. 26. He is expected to be released from the hospital by mid-January.

The quarterback played against the Steamboat Sailors during a preseason scrimmage in Summit County.

He underwent surgery Sept. 23 at St. Anthony's Central Hospital but was transferred to Craig Hospital to begin rehabilitation.

Earlier this season, the Columbine High School football team named Ebert-Santos as an honorary team captain.

He attended the Rebels' final regular-season game against the Arvada Reds.

"It's just a great honor because we both have been through hard times," Ebert-Santos said. "We both have been really affected by a loss and everything. Just the fact that they honored me by allowing me to come to their game, it just feels great."

The state championship game begins at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at All-City Stadium in Denver.

Ebert-Santos, who played in four football games this season, was the Tigers' starter in his final two games. He was injured during the first quarter against the Spartans.

He played quarterback and running back this year and carried the ball 29 times for 213 yards. He scored three rushing touchdowns and was 4-9 passing for 45 yards.

Summit coach Tom Dickey said Ebert-Santos has made tremendous progress since his accident. Members of the Tigers team honored Ebert-Santos over the weekend at a postseason football banquet, which he was able to attend.

Kenny Hosack, who has worked with Ebert-Santos at the rehabilitation center, said the player now has movement in his arms, though he has limited use of his hands.

"He is a remarkable individual," Hosack said. "From a psychological and social standpoint, he is doing extremely well."

Ebert-Santos does not expect to play football again, but he hopes to contribute in some way to the program in 2001, he said.

Despite his injury, the player was optimistic about his recovery.

"It's easy to see what I've lost and be bummed out, and early on I did," Ebert-Santos said. "But over time, I realized that stuff like this happens. There's not much you can do about it, you just look to the future. I've been able to touch a lot of people with my spirits."

To reach Eric Rineer call 871-4229 or e-mail erineer@amigo.net

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