Battling back against all odds - Robbie McNamara's story
Robbie McNamara talks about life after the horror fall that ended his riding career and left him paralysed from the waist down
Time and time again race riding has proven to be one of the most dangerous of all sports, yet if you ask any jockey if they are prepared to give it all up, you are guaranteed to get a negative response. It is their life, there is no doubt.
Never for one minute, however, did the immensely talented and multiple-Cheltenham winning jockey, Robbie McNamara, think that this decision would be made for him. However, a serious fall in a handicap hurdle at Wexford in April of last year left him with no feeling in his lower body.
Robbie was one of so many jockeys going about their daily business that day, but his career in the saddle ended abruptly, in the blink of an eye.
Now nine months later, instead of wallowing in the past and reflecting on what could have been, the Newbridge-based Limerick native is busy moving on with his life and in the coming weeks is preparing to do a stint with the Irish National Stud ahead of what will be a busy breeding season at the Co Kildare farm.
"Life is good at the moment," said the 27-year-old. "My time at the National Rehabilitation Centre is over and I'm doing a bit of walking exercise myself using my new walking bars and I'm also in the gym a lot."
In the days, weeks and months after that horrific fall on April 10 last, Robbie suffered immense emotional trauma in a bid to cope with the severity of his spinal injuries which left him paralysed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair.
He suffered a litany of injuries including eight broken ribs, a punctured lung, multiple fractured vertebrae, internal bleeding in his chest and stomach, in addition to the spinal injuries that required titanium rods to be inserted each side of his spine..
However, just like his first cousin John Thomas McNamara and fellow jockeys Jonjo Bright and Shane Broderick, who also suffered career-ending falls, Robbie has shown immense strength and courage.