Spills as well as thrills are the daily trials of a professional jockey but when the ambulance sent to help you after a fall parks on your leg — that’s a horse of a different colour.
“You have to laugh really,” said Northern Ireland rider Chris Meehan, as he recalled the double-whammy he experienced during a race in Italy.
He wasn’t laughing last Sunday, though, when the racecourse ambulance coming to his aid after he was kicked in the face by a horse ran over his leg, breaking it in one spot and dislocating it in another.
Mr Meehan, 22, whose father teaches paramedics how to drive ambulances, was nearing the end of a summer stint in Italy.
He was riding in a hurdle race at Merano in northern Italy when he was tossed by his mount and subsequently kicked in the face.
The blow initially knocked Meehan out, broke his nose and left a gash in his jaw requiring 27 stitches.
“The starter came over to help me because I was on my back and choking on my blood. He put me in the recovery position, with my right leg out straight,” Meehan said.
Split open jaw, broken nose, broken leg and dislocated ankle (thanks to Italian ambulance. And not one painkiller for poor Chris!— Anton Savage (@AntonSavageShow) July 5, 2016
If that wasn’t bad enough, worse was to come as the racecourse ambulance came up alongside him and drove onto his leg.
“Because it’s such a small tight track, they had to turn around and as they went to turn the ambulance, it reversed on top of my leg.
“They stopped it on top of my leg so I started screaming; it broke it straight away. After I left a roar out of me, everybody realised that the ambulance was on top of me and they all jumped up and pushed it off me,” he said.
Mr Meehan, from Crossgar, Co Down, returned to Ireland yesterday for surgery on his leg and face.
Despite his injuries, he can see the funny side. “What makes it worse is my father, brother, auntie, they’re all ambulance people. My father actually teaches most people in Northern Ireland and England how to drive an ambulance. You couldn’t make it up.”
He explained to Anton Savage on Today FM yesterday how the run of bad luck began. “I was riding the second race over hurdles and in second position. The horse half fell and I had no chance of staying on and went straight over his head and he trampled all over me and the rest of the field trampled all over me as well.
“The first kick broke my nose and the second kick knocked me out and sliced my jaw open. “It is just a freak accident, an unlucky thing to happen. when I got into hospital I could see the funny side of it,” he said.
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