Miracle jockey Brian Toomey makes greatest sporting comeback
Brian Toomey, the Jump Jockey who two years ago suffered an almost fatal fall at Perth Racecourse, will complete one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time this Sunday when he partners the Philip Kirby-trained Kings Grey at Southwell Racecourse in his first race back since injury (4.20pm).
Toomey – who technically died six seconds after the fall and was given only a 3% chance of survival by paramedics – has overcome the longest odds of his life to make a full recovery and return to the saddle. The Limerick-born jockey spent two weeks in a coma, 157 days in hospital and had a large part of his skull removed and a titanium plate fitted, before beginning his long road of recuperation, in which he completed physio and occupational therapy in order to regain his strength and balance.
Brian Toomey said ahead of his comeback: “The race on Sunday has been my focus for the past two years. I could’ve taken the career-ending insurance available to me, but all I wanted to do was be a jockey. It’s my passion, it’s an addiction and it’s been my dream since I was a boy to be a jockey – it’s a job and a life I love. I can’t begin to list the people I want to thank, but I want to go out on Sunday and put in a good performance for them and of course my family.”
In order to be re-issued his license, Brian had to meet the strict medical criteria for fitness to return to race riding and demonstrate his ability to control a horse safely. However, given the severity of Brian’s injuries, further assessments were required in order for him to be passed fit including hearing and vision tests, physiotherapy assessments and appointments and reports from Consultants in Neuropsychology, Neurology and two Neurosurgeons. He also required references from licensed trainers and had to undergo a full medical assessment by the BHA Chief Medical Advisor Dr Jerry Hill. Following the assessments, and taking into account the opinions of specialists, Brian was passed as medically fit to ride.
Dr Jerry Hill, Chief Medical Adviser for the BHA, said: “The fact that Brian is still alive is a testament to the first class medical care which exists on British racecourses. To now be returning to ride again in Britain two years on, and having met all of the demanding criteria required of him to do so, is a quite remarkable story and an illustration of his determination and bravery.”
If you would like to see Brian Toomey’s phenomenal return to the saddle head to Southwell Racecourse on Sunday 12th July – tickets start from £15 for the popular Family Fun Day, with live music after racing from the winners of Britain’s Got Talent 2014, Collabro.