After being involved in a serious four-horse accident at Kempton Park Racecourse, award-winning flat racing jockey Freddy Tylicki has suffered T7 paralysis, meaning that he is paralysed from the waist down.
The jockey, who won the Lester Award for Apprentice Jockey of the Year in 2009, has since commented on his long road ahead.
Discussing the nature of Tylicki’s injury, David Erwin – Partner in Serious Personal Injury –explains the rehabilitation process for the jockey.
Accident At Kempton
The accident at Kempton on the last day of October seemed to be caused when Nellie Dean, Tylicki’s mount, clipped the heels of leader and eventual winner Madame Butterfly on the home turn.
Three other horses soon became involved in the pile-up, with champion flat jockey Jim Crowley suffering a broken nose and another two jockeys, Steve Drowne and Ted Durcan, were also unseated.
In the aftermath of the fall Tylicki and Crowley were rushed to the major trauma centre at St George’s Hospital in Tooting.
Tylicki remained in intensive care at the hospital for two-weeks, eventually being moved into a spinal ward at St George’s.
Before being moved out of intensive care, Tylicki shared an update with his followers on Twitter, saying:
“Struggling and fighting!!!! Thank you every single one for all the support! Here is to a long road in front of me! Much love everyone!”
Dangerous Nature Of The Sport
In the aftermath of the accident, jockeys rallied behind Tylicki, with At The Races presenter Matt Chapman setting up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the jockey’s rehabilitation – the campaign raised over £275,000 in under two weeks.
Those involved with the sport have commented that the nature of Tylicki’s injury serves as a reminder of the risks associated with horse racing, a risk that most jockeys will always have in the back of their mind while they are competing.
In rallying behind Tylicki with funds and best wishes, Chapman is reported as saying:
“The response has been incredible and the money raised is more than I could ever imagine.”
“Having said that, the racing community is a strong and great one. It’s an industry that looks after its own, so maybe I shouldn’t have been quite as overwhelmed as I am.”
The funds raised will be sent to the Injured Jockeys Fund, which is an organisation set up to support jockeys who are forced to retire from the sport after suffering an injury – it has helped 1,000 jockeys and their families cope with injuries since it was established in 1964.
Suffering a T7 paralysis means that the jockey, who retains the record for running one of the biggest priced winners in British horse racing history – a 125-1 at the John Musker Fillies’ Stakes – will be unable to feel his legs and will likely to be confined to a wheelchair for mobility.
He should retain use of his upper body and it is unlikely that personal care will be required, allowing Tylicki to retain some independence.
While there have been great strides in studies and rehabilitation technology to deliver results to sufferers of spinal cord injuries they are still experimental, as David explains:
“Freddy Tylicki’s injuries came as a shock to the entire horse racing industry, with jockeys and fans alike rallying behind the jockey, who still had a long and successful future ahead of him.”
“While jockeys will always ride with the knowledge that they could suffer a serious injury, it is still shocking when such an injury does occur and Freddy must be devastated at his diagnosis.”
“It is said that Freddy has a positive attitude and an upbeat personality, qualities that will be crucial during his road to recovery, as the psychological effects of paralysis often take longer to come to terms with than everyday practicalities of living with a wheelchair.”
“We wish Freddy all the best for his recovery and hope that he can remain positive during his long road to recovery.”