Parents keep vigil as scan planned for coma jockey
Published 12/04/2011 | 05:00
THE heartbroken parents of a young Irish jockey injured in a fall on Aintree Grand National day are keeping vigil beside his hospital bed.
Peter Toole (22) remains in a medically-induced coma after he suffered a brain bleed in the fall on Saturday.
Doctors are planning to conduct a CT scan to assess the swelling in his brain before deciding whether to bring him out of the coma.
Top riders Ruby Walsh and Tony McCoy have been getting updates on his condition by phone, while former top jockey Mick Fitzgerald has met the injured man's parents, James and Fidelma Toole -- who farm at Dunshaughlin, Co Meath -- at the Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Liverpool.
"He is being kept heavily sedated and is as comfortable as he can be," UK Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) chief executive Kevin Darley told the Irish Independent.
"He is stable and receiving the best possible treatment. The Walton is probably one of the best hospitals in the country.
"All the top jump jockeys, AP [McCoy] and Ruby Walsh, have been on asking about Peter's condition. It is warming to know they all stick together."
Adrian McGoldrick, the Irish Turf Club chief medical officer, said medically-induced coma was a normal treatment for brain bleed for jockeys and has proved successful in the past.
He said the long-term outcome for Mr Toole would depend upon the degree of bleeding from the brain.
Mr Toole suffered bleeding on the right side of his brain after 100-1 shot Classic Fly went down at the first fence during the Maghull Novices' Chase.
He was placed on a ventilator after being transferred to the specialist brain injury centre.
The jockey has spent much of his career based in the UK, where he is attached to Charlie Mann's stable in Lambourne in Berkshire.
"They won't wake him up until they have done the scan and if the CT is going to be late they'll probably do it tomorrow, so there's no change as it stands," Mr Mann said yesterday.
The jockey's only brother, Paddy, who is working on a dairy farm in Victoria in Australia, is understood to be trying to make his way home.
Close friend and fellow jockey David Crosse asked people to pray for Mr Toole.
"A top man who I pray will be OK," he wrote in his online racing blog. "I can honestly say the whole weighing room is in bits and hoping for the best."
Mr Toole had ridden 30 winners this season and was due to have six rides at Wincanton on Sunday.