A RISING star jockey cracked all his teeth and was just 1mm away from being paralysed in a horror fall.
But the aftermath of the horror incident brought the hugely talented rider and his partner closer together, and he’s targeting a remarkable return to the saddle next month.
Teo Nugent and his partner Claira Chermside[/caption]
Teo Nugent explained how the recovery period strengthened the pair’s bond and had him thanking his lucky stars.
Nugent was riding Florescent Star at Moonee Valley in Australia in March and the pair looked to have an excellent chance as they turned into the straight.
Disaster struck, however, as Florescent Star clipped heels and Nugent was slammed head-first into the turf.
Florescent Star had to be euthanized following the fall, while Nugent cracked all of his teeth and suffered a broken neck.
The amount of force that Nugent slammed to the ground with actually crushed his C1 vertebrae, rather than the fracturing it like initially thought.
Despite the horrific nature of his injuries, Nugent was actually very fortunate, as he’d have been paralysed if it was just 1mm to the left.
His partner Claira told racing.com: “Teo was millimetres off being a quadriplegic and that’s when we all broke down thinking how can that be, how close he came.
“They told us there was no guarantees and that surgery could turn him into a paraplegic or a quadriplegic, it was Teo’s decision if we did surgery or not.”
Nugent said: “I feel very lucky to be here to tell the tale and have made it through the other side.”
“I wish I hadn’t asked to watch it but I had because I didn’t know what had happened. It was obviously really tough to watch.”
‘We’re closer, you don’t take anything for granted’
Nugent is targeting a return to race riding next month and will begin trackwork this week after getting the all-clear from doctors.
It’s been a long road to recovery, but one that has brought the pair much closer together.
Nugent said: “I really can’t thank Claira enough for how she’s looked after me, it’s definitely brought us a lot closer.
“If I hadn’t had Claira during my recovery I’d be in bad shape for sure, I couldn’t wash myself for starters and I don’t think getting my old man in to scrub my back would have been good at all.
“It would have been quite odd if we’d only just started going out together and I’d had the fall then, but we’ve been together four years now.”
Claira added: “For sure we’re closer, you don’t take anything for granted after something like this happens.”
“I definitely didn’t realise how big of a job it was going to be, he couldn’t do anything really.
“It was a big change but we’re stronger than ever I’d say.”
The pair purchased the 37-acre Nuiside Park last year and run Nuiside Park Thoroughbreds, a boutique spelling farm.
A spelling farm is effectively a holiday for horses, allowing them to refresh mentally and recovery physically from on-track racing.
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September 12, 2023 at 04:48PM
from The Sun