Sport Horse Racing

Monday 27 February 2017

'I knew straight away I was in trouble' - Resilient Robbie McNamara is staying positive after horrific fall

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

Robbie McNamara riding a winner
Robbie McNamara riding a winner
Robbie McNamara

Jockey Robbie McNamara, who was left unable to move from the waist down following an horrific fall, has said he will not let his injuries stop him from returning as a trainer.

The 26-year-old rising star suffered a serious fall at a meeting in Wexford last month which left him with eight broken ribs and six cracked vertebrae as well as a collapsed lung and internal bleeding.

Despite his devastating injuries, the Limerick jockey is still optimistic about his recovery and is already undergoing physiotherapy.

Speaking to 'At The Races' from his bed at the Mater Hospital in Dublin yesterday, McNamara said he is not giving up on his dreams - even if he doesn't regain the use of his legs.

"The ribs are healing but I've no movement from the waist down. I'm able to lift myself up, turn myself over in bed, get into the wheelchair and that's with broken ribs.

"I've got two titanium rods either side of my spine and they moved the muscles away from the spine to put them in so that's probably the sorest part," he explained.

Showing great resilience, the jockey said he is prepared for the fact that he may not fully recover - however he is still remaining positive.

"I can do 80pc of the things I used to do and if it stays the way it is, then it's not the end of the world. I'll be able to drive a car when I get out of here and I'll find some way of playing golf and doing other things," he added.

He has been rising early each morning to undergo physiotherapy and can already get himself in and out of his wheelchair.

McNamara has previously described the accident as "like getting hit by a lorry".

"I knew straight away that I was in trouble. I couldn't breathe. I tried not to panic, because I knew it was worse than normal.

"I looked at my legs and I knew straight away. I tried to move my legs and they wouldn't work. For about three hours I struggled to breathe," he told RTÉ Sport.

McNamara underwent emergency spinal surgery in the aftermath of the fall.

His first cousin John Thomas is paralysed from the neck down following a Cheltenham fall in 2013.

Irish Independent

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