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Jockey on road to recovery after horror fall
A JOCKEY who suffered a serious head injury after a horrific fall after at a race meeting has shown signs he could make a full recovery.
North Yorkshire-based rider Brian Toomey, who was placed in an induced coma and received brain surgery after a fall at a race meeting in Perth on July 4, has been moved from Ninewells Hospital, in Dundee, to the James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, to start a rehabilitation programme.
Friends of the 24-year-old, who is attached to trainer Kevin Ryan's stables, in Hambleton, near Thirsk, said he has made steady progress since the fall which left the horseracing fraternity in shock, with many, including champion jockey AP McCoy, saying they were praying for him.
The fall followed a relative of Mr Toomey's, amateur jockey JT McNamara, becoming paralysed after suffering spinal injuries in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival, in March.
Mr Toomey’s girlfriend, last year's champion apprentice jockey and Mr Ryan’s daughter, Amy, has remained at his bedside, riding only once in the six weeks since the incident.
Friends said after moving to Middlesbrough unit on Saturday, Mr Toomey rapidly settled into his new surroundings.
Jockey Brian Hughes, a friend of Mr Toomey, who has ridden 49 National Hunt winners since 2008 and has represented Mr Ryan's stable at the Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown festivals, said: "I saw him twice over the weekend and he's in good form. He's walking and talking and he's doing everything normally.
"He recognises everybody and seems to be himself so it's brilliant."
Mr Ryan said while the jockey was still getting very tired, the progress he had made over the last couple of weeks had been remarkable and he no longer needed a respirator to aid breathing.
He said: "Brian is doing great and is well on the way to recovery, and he hasn't lost his sense of humour that's for sure, but it was a very worrying time.
"Thank God he's going to be fine. He's talking and has full movement, but he's been through a lot. He's lost a lot of weight and it will take a while yet for him to fully recover, but he's well on the way. I don't know whether he will ever be able to ride again.
"He's much closer to us now so all his friends can go to see him, some of them have already been to Dundee. There's no date set yet for him leaving hospital."
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