Brian, a jockey, suffered a catastrophic brain injury when catapulted into the ground while racing a horse named Solway Dandy in Perth in July 2013.
Brian said, “The paramedics said I was dead for six seconds. But that was just the start. After they got me back, the doctors gave me a 3% chance of survival. After I pulled through that period, I couldn’t open my eyes and was paralysed. After that, I was paralysed down the left-hand side because it was right side of my brain that was injured. I still didn’t know my family; I didn’t even know who I was.”
Brian was rushed to hospital where doctors in Dundee carried out emergency brain surgery and he was then in a coma. Nobody expected him to survive, let alone get back on a horse. Brian spent 157 days in hospital where he began his recovery battling memory loss, as well as physical problems.
Brian said “Being a jockey is my passion, it was my goal to get back. That really helped me, because it was all I wanted to do. I knew I had to be near enough 100% to enable me to even apply and try and get back, so that’s what I did.”
It was working with the Injured Jockeys Fund that meant that Brian came into contact with our Occupational Therapists at Neural Pathways, Rachel Charles and Susannah Giles. He says, “I hadn’t a clue what occupational therapists did before the accident. I was going through a hard time. I didn’t really realise how much it was helping me.”
Rachel and Susannah worked with Brian and his multi-disciplinary team at Jack Berry House, focussing on structure and routine and miraculously it wasn’t long before Brian got back on a horse. He made his racing comeback in July 2015.
Brian said, “It had never been done before. I’ve been told it is apparently the biggest professional sporting comeback in the world, because I actually died for six seconds, and also, don’t forget, first they thought I would die and then they thought if I lived, I would never be able to walk or talk again…never mind be a professional jockey.”