Dr. Arun Ramappa, an orthopedic surgeon who removed shrapnel from the limbs of those injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, told CNN he was "proud to be a citizen of Boston."
"Everyone pulled together," said Ramappa, who described to news anchors how he rushed from his office to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center after hearing about the blast that killed three people and injured more than 200. "Everyone stepped up."
What most viewers probably didn't know was that Ramappa is a local boy who made good — very good. His long list of achievements began at Hudson High School, when 26 years ago, before heading to Harvard, the National Merit scholar gave the valedictory address to his 200-member graduating class.
""We have gained a wider perspective on our lives ... our characters have been shaped," he told classmates and their families. "And now we have been granted the wings of freedom."
Ramappa, now 43, is chief of sports medicine and shoulder surgery at Beth Israel. He specializes in sports injuries of the knee, shoulder and elbow.
The team physician of the Boston Red Sox, he is often quoted in the Boston media about injuries of professional athletes and has starred in videos on the dangers of running every day on concrete.
In high school, Ramappa had a GPA of 4.10 and was active in school. In addition to being in the National Honor Society, he was a member of the computer club, math team and played on the soccer and tennis teams. In 1987, he was a science fair winner. Medicine was in his blood. His mother, Renuka, is an obstetrician/gynecologist, while his father, Gogi, is a pediatrician. Both still practice in the area.
After graduating from Harvard, Ramappa went to its medical school. He stayed in Massachusetts, performing his surgical internship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He completed his training at Harvard's combined orthopedics residency program.
Friends predicted he would do well.
"He's the brain of the county," Mark Wayne Brissette, the Zephyrhills High School valedictorian, said of Ramappa back then.
Charlene Prahasky, who finished at Hudson two years behind Ramappa, recalled her classmate as someone to be admired.
"He was always kind and caring and willing to help out," said Prahasky, who now works as an assistant principal at Hudson High. "We're proud to know what he's done, and it's nice to know he's continuing to make an impact on the world."
His hospital bio said he won the Edwin Cave Traveling Fellowship where he received advanced training in shoulder surgery from world leaders in Switzerland and France.
Once back in the United States, Ramappa completed his third fellowship at the world-renowned Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Colorado. There Ramappa gained expertise in a variety of sporting injuries, especially skiing and snowboarding injuries, according to Beth Israel.
Ramappa has turned his focus toward baseball. His research focus includes pitching injuries, ACL tears and rotator cuff disorders.
"He has extensive research experience and has earned the prestigious Excellence in Research Award from the American Orthopedic Society of Sports Medicine," his hospital bio said.
His scientific articles have been published in journals such as the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, the American Journal of Sports Medicine, the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, and the Journal of Arthroscopy. He recently earned a grant from Major League Baseball to study throwing injuries.