Injured jockey opens his eyes after being taken out of coma
THE Irish jockey who was seriously injured on Grand National day has opened his eyes for the first time since his fall.
Peter Toole (22), pictured, from Ratoath, Co Meath, suffered bleeding on the right side of his brain when his mount, Classic Fly, fell at the first fence in the Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree, just a few hours before the main race.
He was taken out of a medically induced coma on Thursday of last week, and is now in the high-dependency Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Liverpool.
His father James Toole said yesterday that his son was showing signs of improvement, but could not say whether the jockey was completely on the mend.
James and Peter's mother Fidelma have been maintaining a vigil by his bedside since the accident.
Trainer Charlie Mann, to whose yard Toole is attached in Lambourn in the UK, said all the signs were pointing towards improvement.
"I've spoken to his mother this morning, and he is showing signs of improvement," he said. "I have been told that Peter woke up and opened his eyes at one point, which is very encouraging. We hope he will continue to improve over the coming days."
Friend and fellow jockey David Crosse said Toole was "making slight progress every day. He is moving his hand and squeezing it when you hold his".
Many other jockeys have been sending him their best wishes on social-networking site Twitter, and more than 3,300 people have joined a Facebook group that is called Get Well Peter Toole.
The Injured Jockeys' Fund and Aintree racecourse have been supporting Toole's parents, who were at the Aintree meeting.
"The family have been overwhelmed by the number of messages and cards they have received, and would like to say thank you to all their well-wishers," said a spokesman.