Friday 19 January 2018

Inspirational fallen jockey Robbie McNamara embarks on new career

Robbie McNamara
Robbie McNamara

Still navigating the long road to recovery following a devastating fall from a horse in April, former jockey Robbie McNamara is already in the process of beginning a new career.

Limerick native McNamara fell from Bursledon in a handicap hurdle at Wexford, and suffered horrific injuries which would require life-saving surgery.

At 6’3, he would hardly be considered the quintessential jockey, but McNamara enjoyed a stellar amateur career and rode over 200 winners.

When deemed stable enough, he was moved from Wexford to the Matter Hospital and, when there, insisted doctors did not sugar-coat his prognosis.

“It was tough. I knew in my heart and soul that I was in trouble,” he said this morning on TV3’s Sunday AM. “Even if the feeling came back after five weeks, I wasn’t going to get up out of the bed and walk off.

“I didn’t want to wake up in the morning hoping for a miracle, then be disappointed in the evening when it didn’t come.”

Jockey Robbie McNamara from his hospital bed

The 27-year-old comes from a family steeped in horse racing so the perils of his chosen profession were all too apparent to him.

After a period in the Matter, he was moved to the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire to begin an arduous convalescence, as well as the transition back to normality. The prospect of which was appealing to him.

“You’re well aware of the dangers of it every time. It keeps you concentrated, the fear of it, rather than worrying about it every day. It’s awareness more than a fear.

“I was looking forward to going to Dun Laoghaire when I was in the Matter because I knew it was getting back to doing a bit of physical exercise and not sitting around all day.

“In Dun Laoghaire you’re kept busy all day long. After a few weeks you’re let out at the weekends, so rather than going home at weekends and not doing anything - I didn’t want to get out with this big shock being back in the real world - so I made a point of doing something every weekend. So, when I did get out of Dun Laoghaire, it didn’t faze me,” he said.

From next April, he’ll position himself in the Curragh to begin a new career as a horse trainer and is hoping to have some of his mounts in action by the early winter.

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