Ballerina released from hospital 6 weeks after rollerblading accident
It was an emotional reunion for an Argentinian ballerina Saturday afternoon as she returned to her Vancouver dance studio for the first time since a rollerblading accident left her in a coma six weeks ago.
“It feels good to be here, I wish I could take part,” Lucila Munaretto, 20, told fellow dancers, walking across a performance room at Pacific Dance Arts on crutches Saturday afternoon.
“Soon, Lucila!” said one ballerina, as the group of dancers rushed over to greet her, many of them tearing up.
Munaretto was rollerblading in North Vancouver on Aug. 13 when she failed to stop at an intersection while coming down a steep hill. She smashed into the side of a mini-van, seriously injuring her head and body, and was in a medically-induced coma for nearly two weeks.
On Friday, the ballerina was finally released from the hospital. Visiting her dance studio just a day later - her mother at her side - was “amazing”, she says.
“It was the best feeling [today] because I knew I was coming here,” Munaretto told CTV News. “It would be better if I didn’t need the crutches, but coming in and watching my friends is good. Knowing that there were so many people [sending] good vibes makes me feel thankful, and gives me a lot of power.”
Munaretto came to Vancouver in 2012 when a scout from Coastal City Ballet offered her a scholarship. Her family had previously moved from their native Argentina to Brazil after she was awarded a scholarship to attend the Bolshoi Theatre School.
A Go-Fund-Me page was created shortly after her accident to bring her family from Brazil to Vancouver, and to help cover the cost of Munaretto’s recovery. More than $41,000 has been raised so far, nearly half of the estimated $100,000 rehabilitation costs.
Munaretto is still unable to put weight on her right leg due to a broken pelvis, and is healing from a procedure to remove broken teeth and rewire her jaw. But friends of the ballerina are amazed by her recovery – and her positive attitude.
“I've seen her every day, I've seen her improvement every day, and I even saw her yesterday outside of the hospital,” says Katie Bois, rehearsal director at Pacific DanceArts, home to Coastal City Ballet where Munaretto trains. “But just to have her walk through the doors into the studio like old times, it's just so overwhelming.”
“We are witnessing a miracle here,” says family friend Laura Lopez. “We know that very soon Lucila will be on stage and we will all be enjoying her performance.”
Doctors have yet to allow Munaretto to begin dance rehab again, but the young ballerina says she is determined to be on the stage “as soon as possible.”
“Dance is my life - I’ve been doing it since I was four years old, so it’s my life,” says Munaretto. “I know it’s not going to be easy, and I will have to learn everything again – but that’s good, because I will be able to correct the things I wasn’t able to do before.”
“I just need to wait, and be patient. I’ve already waited a lot so it won’t hurt me to wait a little bit more.”
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Shaheed Devji