Radio Sandwell Sport

Jockey JT McNamara suffers paralysis after Festival fall

2013-03-29 23:18:44

JT McNamara

Jockey JT McNamara is remaining positive despite suffering paralysis as a result of injuries sustained in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival.

The 37-year-old had surgery after fracturing two vertebrae and remains at Bristol's Frenchay Hospital.

"Whilst he suffered a neck injury resulting in paralysis, JT has made progress and is in a positive frame of mind," said a family statement.

"He is greatly appreciative of the many messages, cards and letters received."

A previous statement earlier in the week, also released by the Injured Jockeys' Fund - a charity that helps riders and their families - on behalf of McNamara's family, said he was fully alert but requiring full-time ventilation.

It was also announced that the Irish jockey would be transferred at an appropriate stage from Frenchay to the national spinal unit at the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

McNamara was placed in an induced coma after Galaxy Rock fell at the first fence in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup on 14 March. His wife Caroline flew to Bristol the following day to be at his bedside in intensive care.

McNamara had an operation on his fractured spine, having injured the C3 and C4 vertebrae in his neck, but fears that he had sustained a brain injury were allayed in a statement a week later.

The jockey, from Limerick in the Republic of Ireland, is a leading amateur rider who has ridden four winners at the Cheltenham Festival, including guiding Teaforthree to victory in the National Hunt Chase last year.

He won the same race in 2002 on Rith Dubh, was successful in the Cross-Country Chase with Spot Thedifference three years later and won the 2007 Fox Hunter Chase on Drombeag.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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