Jockey paralysed after fall at racing festival

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aN Irish jockey has been left paralysed after a suffering a neck injury in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this month.

A statement issued on behalf of JT McNamara’s family last night said the 37-year-old rider was in a “very positive frame of mind” after having surgery at a Bristol hospital where he has been treated since the fall on March 15.

He was also “greatly appreciative” of the “many messages” of support and thanked the hospital staff.

The leading amateur jockey fractured C3 and C4 vertebrae following his fall from Galaxy Rock at the first fence in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup. He was initially placed into an induced coma as part of his treatment.

Last night, a statement issued jointly by Adrian McGoldrick, the Irish Turf Club’s senior medical officer, and Lisa Hancock, head of the Injured Jockeys Fund on behalf of the McNamara family said: “JT McNamara remains in the Frenchay Hospital, Bristol.

“Whilst he suffered a serious neck injury resulting in paralysis, he has made progress in the last week and is in a very positive frame of mind.”

The statement continued: “He is greatly appreciative of the many messages, cards and letters received and also wishes to thank the Frenchay Hospital who are looking after him so well.”

In due course he is expected to be transferred to the National Spinal Unit at Dublin’s Mater Hospital to continue his rehabilitation.