McNamara in 'very positive frame of mind' despite being paralysed by horror fall
19:16 GMT, 29 March 2013
23:57 GMT, 29 March 2013
Jockey JT McNamara, seriously injured in
a fall at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this month, has expressed his
gratitude for the support he has received as it was publicly confirmed
he has been left paralysed.
A statement issued by Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Irish Turf Club Senior
Medical Officer and Lisa Hancock, CEO, Injured Jockeys Fund on behalf of
the McNamara Family, said: ‘JT McNamara remains in the Frenchay
Moving: JT McNamara is improving and will be moved to a hospital in Ireland
‘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.
‘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.’
McNamara was injured in a first fence fall from Galaxy Rock in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Hancock said: 'It's a risky sport. Safety is important and it continues to be, but it is a risky sport and every jockey knows that. We are looking at safety measures and continue to do so.]
'But at the end of the day you're riding a horse at speed and jumping fences at speed so the risk is always there.'
Paul Struthers, chief excutive of the Professional Jockeys Association, tweeted: 'Awful news with confirmation of the extent of JT's injuries. The risks faced/sacrifices made by our brave boys & girls face to entertain us.'
The Jockey Club tweeted: 'We echo the sentiments expressed across our sport & beyond, and send our very best wishes to JT McNamara & those dear to him.'
Grand National-winning rider Mick Fitzgerald has also spoken of his sadness and of the risks involved in racing.
Now a successful pundit on television and radio, Fitzgerald told Sky Sports News: 'It's a mixture of sadness, it's the end of a great career for a jockey who was an amateur and did it because he loved the game.
'When it happened at the time a sombre (mood) descended on Cheltenham, everyone had everything crossed and plenty of people were praying their worse fears wouldn't be realised. This is the end of a glittering career.
'The great thing I can say is that he's in a positive frame of mind and that is number one. He's surrounded by people who love him and I can only extend my best wishes to him and his family.
'It's a high-risk sport and this is one of the things that can happen. As a jump jockey you go out to ride every day knowing it could be your last. You never think it could be you, it always happens to someone else.
'We devote our lives to the sport we love. None of us want to see a jockey injured, the same goes for the horse.
Sombre: Former Grand National winner and racing pundit Mick Fitzgerald spoke out about his sadness
'Getting injured is always in the back of your mind but if you were thinking about it, you wouldn't be able to do your job.
'He's alive and well and in a positive frame of mind. It's important that racing does what it can to help him enjoy the rest of life. I cannot tell you how nice a guy he is.'
The latest statement on McNamara's condition was issued jointly by Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Irish Turf Club Senior Medical Officer and Lisa Hancock, CEO, Injured Jockeys Fund, on behalf of the rider's family and read: '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.
'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.'