JOCKEY Henry Brooke has revealed how he came just inches from being paralysed after a horror fall.
Brooke’s latest injury comes just four years after he was placed in an induced coma following another fall that punctured his lung.
Jumps jockey Brooke discovered he had smashed three vertebrae in his neck after driving himself to hospital.
Incredibly, he thought he was being ‘soft’ by giving up rides so he could get checked out by doctors.
But the 30-year-old was glad he did following a recent fall at Oliver Greenall’s yard in Cheshire.
Brooke told the Racing Post: “I didn’t think it was serious. I thought I was being a bit soft.
“I debated going to Hereford to ride and I thought I’d better not, just to be safe and I drove myself to hospital. It’s a good job I did!
“I’ve broken three vertebrae in my neck.
“Two are not really anything to worry about but one I’ve been very lucky that it hasn’t slipped or I could have needed an operation.
“I’ve also broken two vertebrae in my back.
“So I’ve got to be in a neck brace for six weeks, then they can start the rehab.
“I’d say I won’t be back on a horse before the end of February. If I can get back for March I’ll be lucky.
“But I’m very lucky I’ve been able to walk away from this. A few inches different and I would have been in a wheelchair. I’m lucky to be able to think about getting on a horse.”
The latest injury setback comes at a rubbish time for Brooke, who has won just under £2million in prize money during his career.
He was approaching 20 winners for the season but now is looking to next year before he can get in the saddle once more.
Still, it could be worse.
Punctured lung and bleeding
Brooke’s terrifying fall at Hexham in 2016 left him with a punctured lung, extensive blood loss, multiple rib fractures and a broken shoulder.
He was placed into a coma and medics worked to save his life.
Despite the horrifying injuries, Brooke insists he has many years left at the top and that this latest serious injury is really ‘nothing to worry about’.
He added: “I’ve got another ten or 12 years in me and in ten years I’ll look back on this and think it was nothing to worry about.
“I said at the beginning of this year that I wasn’t going to let a horse get me down, whether it was riding it, not riding it or what. You pick yourself up and move on.
“Things could be better but they could be a damn sight worse.”
The news of Brooke’s injury comes a day after Fergus Gregory was lucky to avoid being hurt following a jaw-dropping fall at Ascot.
And SunSport revealed how jockey William Buick was attacked by rival Joey Haynes at Lingfield before police were called to break up the confrontation.
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