Ruby wants show of support for JT and Jonjo

Ruby Walsh has called for the racing community to come out in force on Monday for the Limerick Charity Raceday in aid of John Thomas McNamara and Jonjo Bright.

McNamara, and Bright were |paralysed earlier this year after suffering horrific falls within weeks of each other in March.

Irish Examiner columnist Walsh is hopeful of a big turnout.

“Everybody has pulled together, lads are coming from England and it will be a unique day,” he said.

“It’s a day we’re reaching out and hoping people will come racing.

“It is a big ask, we understand that. Times are financially tough for everybody but we’re good to give and I guess this is our time to ask for something back.”

Speaking to the Last Word, Walsh added: “Jockey’s are a unique breed, we won’t lie down and roll over and complain when there’s nothing wrong. We stand up and get on with it. We’re good to help everybody else out, this is the day we want something back. Monday is an important day for racing.”

Walsh was speaking on the day McNamara, whose injuries were sustained after a fall from Galaxy Rock in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham, was transferred to the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre at Southport, Merseyside, from the National Spinal Unit at the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

He is now set to commence his rehabilitation at this specialist unit. A statement was issued by Dr Adrian McGoldrick, on behalf of the McNamara family and the Turf Club reading: “We would like to thank Ms Noelle Cassidy, orthopaedic surgeon, and the nursing staff at the Mater Hospital.

“John Thomas wishes to extend a special thank you to Aoife, Marie and Ann from physio for their help and care.

“John Thomas, Caroline (his wife), and their extended families are extremely grateful for your ongoing support and prayers.

“He would like to personally thank all the visitors he had over the last couple of months. It has been overwhelming and very much appreciated.’’

Walsh added: “Jonjo’s paralysed from his neck down but he has slight movement of one of his hands. John Thomas is probably in a worse position. He’s still on a ventilator. He had to be moved out of the Mater and back to the UK because there’s nowhere to do rehab in Ireland if you’re on a ventilator.

“They’re horrific injuries and they’re life-changing for them and their families

“The reason for Monday is racing is pulling together and looking for a bit of help to try and support these guys for the rest of their lives.”

The horrific nature of the injuries sustained by both McNamara and Bright stunned the racing world.

Sadly, Walsh feels nothing can be done to prevent such injuries

“You can’t prevent them. We wear top of the range helmets, first-class bodyvests. unfortunately when you’re dealing with your neck and spine there’s no real way of protecting them. We can’t wear the helmets that Formula One drivers wear because we have to be able to see out through the horses ears. You can only limit the danger, you can’t remove it.”

Walsh also spoke warmly of role of McNamara’s wife, Caroline, since March.

“I seen how strong his wife Caroline is. Without her, he would have no chance. She’s been absolutely incredible. To go and see him in the Mater and talk to Caroline... they’re incredible people but she is a top-class woman, the way she has dealt with it and how she’s kept him going.”

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