It was the scariest and most serious injury of Season 12 on “Dancing with the Stars,” but Hines Ward’s partner Kym Johnson rallied big time to score not one, but two, sets of triple 10’s for a perfect score of 60. And, to think, Kym was in a neck brace the same morning of those performances.
“I’m so lucky,” Kym told reporters after the show. “I feel good. I went to the doctor this morning for the all clear. I just got out of my neck brace. But now I’ve got a bit more movement. And I’ve obviously modified the routines. There was a lot more tricks in it, but Hines is such a good dancer so we just relied on that. And I should’ve done it all along because it got us 10s.”
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We caught up with the pair moments after the show to find out more about her injury and the emotional week the couple has had…
You said in the package that you didn’t want to dance?
Kym: I didn’t really mean to say that. I didn’t know if I was going to. The doctors cleared me this morning to dance. It was a bit touch and go. I just felt so bad for Hines, you know.
Hines: No, it’s all-good.
Kym: Because we’ve come so far. It was my stupid fault. It was the semis, I was trying to put this move in.
You didn’t want to be safe.
Kym: Well, now I learned a bit lesson. And Hines has just been incredible and carried me through that dance. I’m just really lucky and all our fans and Steelers Nation have been so supportive like, just the messages we got were just so encouraging. I really do feel blessed and so lucky.
Were you expecting a perfect score even with the injuries?
Kym: I was just happy I was actually up dancing to be honest. I really didn’t care what we got. I was just happy we were up dancing.
What is the injury technically?
Kym: Well, I ended up just sprain… I don’t know. I can’t even remember what the doctor said.
Hines: Sprained vertebrae. It’s like the muscle between the vertebras, C7.
Kym: C7, yeah. I’m just lucky I took more of it on my shoulders as opposed to my neck. I was very lucky.
You guys have amazing chemistry, everyone was crying…
Kym: I was told not to watch the package before and so was Hines. Hines was told never to watch the package before, and he did…
Hines: Yeah, I saw it. I was sick.
That’s what the tears were from?
Hines: Yeah, I was sick. You never wanna see your partner…we’ve been together for 10 weeks and that Friday was the worst Friday ever, to see your partner carted off and just being in the hospital with her and going over the MRIs. You start contemplating, what could I have done? Could I have prevented the fall? You start second guessing yourself and then you put things in perspective. It was a trying week. To be honest with you, I didn’t even think about dancing. I was more concerned with her safety than anything.
Kym: And, then Cheryl [Burke] came in and helped us out when I couldn’t because I didn’t get back rehearsing properly. But we worked really hard, thank goodness, on Wednesday and we worked all Thursday and Thursday night. So we got all the choreography down surprisingly enough.
Did you practice at all this weekend?
Kym: Uh, yeah, with the neck brace on I was just taking him through the moves. I wasn’t really dancing properly. Today was the first day without the neck brace. All the doctors at Cedar Sinai were fantastic and they helped me get through today.
Had you not had a sore neck what do you think you would’ve gotten?
Kym: I know! It wasn’t about me. It was about Hines. You got us those scores and you danced your heart out. That’s what the judges saw. He got those 10s.
How quickly did you get the feeling back in your arms?
Kym: I think it was probably more the shock. I’ve never been so scared, I have to say.