Jockey plans comeback after spine, neck fracture

By John Cousins

The jockey who suffered multiple fractures to her neck and back when she fell at the January 2 races in Tauranga is well on the way to a full recovery.

Jenny Whiteside said she hoped to be back in the saddle by the end of next month, all going well.

"I'm healing really well ... I was extremely lucky."

The 27-year-old Karaka-based apprentice was feeling even more positive when she spoke to the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday because the metal body brace that had kept her spine rigid for six weeks had just been removed.

"I'm aiming to be doing track work by the end of March."

Miss Whiteside, who is apprenticed to Shaun Clotworthy, said she had received heaps of support during her ordeal, including from all her mates at the track.

She fractured two vertebrae in her neck and nine in her back and considered herself lucky to be alive - let alone walking.

"As long as I have not lost my nerve, I will get back into it. I'm pretty positive that I have not lost my nerve."

The next stage of her recovery was in the hands of her physiotherapist. She had to get all her muscles working again and would be finding out what she could and could not do.

"It was definitely my worst fall - I'm lucky to be given a second chance."

Miss Whiteside was optimistic that she would ride again at Tauranga although the memory of what happened on January 2 would be at the back of her mind.

She was riding Te Awamutu-owned and trained horse Roydon when he fell about 450m from the finish of the 2100m race. Ms Whiteside was treated at the scene by a course doctor and a St John Ambulance paramedic before being taken to Tauranga Hospital.

She did not remember the fall but remembered the sense of relief when she came round in hospital and could feel her feet.

The two other jockeys involved in the accident both sustained bruising when they were thrown from their mounts.

One of them, Vinnie Colgan, retired from racing a little later in the day when he felt unwell.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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