Irish jockey who was run over by an ambulance says there’s ‘no question of me quitting’

Chris Meehan, the jockey who hit the headlines after being run over by an ambulance, says he is "taking the positives" and thoughts of quitting have not even entered his head.

The 22-year-old conditional rider from County Down, who had been based with Jonathan Geake in Wiltshire before taking a working holiday in Italy, suffered a nasty fall at Merano racecourse at the weekend.

His mount kicked him in the face, initially knocking him unconscious and causing him to need 27 stitches to a gash along his jaw, but help was quick on hand, as the starter put him into the recovery position.

That turned out to be a minor inconvenience given what was to come, as an ambulance pulled alongside him but in manoeuvring into a better position to treat him it reversed over his outstretched leg and came to rest while still on top of him.

It was eventually pushed off - but the irony that his father has worked for the ambulance service in Northern Ireland has not been lost on him.

"My dad has been in the ambulance service for 30 years in Northern Ireland and he thinks what happened is ridiculous - he's not impressed," said Meehan.

"It's not until you ride abroad that you realise how good the medical care in England and Ireland is.

"I wasn't given any pain relief until I got to Ulster, that can't be right, I've been in absolute agony.

"I got back to Ireland last night and spent five or six hours in hospital trying to get sorted.

"I haven't been into surgery yet, I need to see a fracture specialist. On Sunday they thought it was a simple break but when they re-did the X-ray on Monday they said it was more complicated and that my ankle was dislocated.

"I'd gone over there on a working holiday just to gain some experience.

"Jump racing is not massive in Italy. They race every Sunday out there and have four jump races and three on the Flat, I'd been picking up a couple of rides a week."

He added: "I'd been out there about three months. I'm a conditional jockey with Jonathan Geake and hopefully when this is all over the plan will be to return to him.

"I've been told it will be a couple of months before I can ride again, but then I'd need to get race-fit, I wouldn't come back before I was comfortable.

"I'm 22 and lost my 10lb claim quite quick riding for Neil Mulholland, but I was very light and a few of the senior lads in the weighing room told me to go on the Flat to get some experience while I still could.

"So, I had two years as an apprentice with George Baker.

"I never actually rode in Ireland. I got an apprentice licence when I was 18 and was with Willie Mullins. I was getting a horse ready to ride in point-to-points but I broke my leg on Willie's gallops one morning.

"After that the call came to go to England, but it's so competitive, it's very hard to get rides.

"There's no question of me quitting, though, racing is all I know.

"When my girlfriend saw me in hospital in Italy it wasn't even an hour after it had happened and I could here her on the phone to her mum.

"I was on a stretcher in the middle of a corridor, my face covered in gauze and there was blood everywhere, she said 'that's it, you're giving it up', but there's no question of that.

"I'm looking at the positives, if people didn't know my name before this they might do now. They say there's no such thing as bad publicity."

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