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Rodd reveals concussion battle

Rodd reveals concussion battle

Star jockey Michael Rodd is making progress in his battle against post-concussion syndrome which has seen him sidelined for the past 16 months from riding.

The winner of 33 Group 1 races including the 2007 Melbourne Cup on Efficient and the 2012 Cox Plate on Maldivian is hopeful he can one day ride again but said that’s secondary to his health after he has experienced a debilitating 22 months due to his head injury.

 

Rodd took a positive step earlier this week with his first public outing in over a year when he was part of the VRC’s Melbourne Cup tour which visited the Gippsland towns of Seaspray and Maffra.

“That’s been a big step for me. That’s the first time I’ve really done anything since I stopped riding. It’s been a long hard road but I’m making progress,” Rodd said.

Rodd said his injury was initially diagnosed as an ear infection but at the time nobody was certain what had happened.

The Brisbane based Rodd is coming to Melbourne once a month to be consulted by leading brain injury and rehabilitation specialist, Dr Brett Jarosz.

Dr Jarosz has had great success in treating athletes who have suffered with post-concussion syndrome such as surfer Owen Wright and AFL footballer Patrick McCartin.

Rodd said it hadn’t been an easy time with his post-concussion syndrome invading most aspects of his life.

“It affects a little bit of everything. I couldn’t sleep which goes with concussion and headaches, I also had really bad fatigue, just no energy at all,” Rodd said.
“I couldn’t get out of the house too much. Light sensitivity is a big one and it still is.  I haven’t watched TV for a long time as any movement and bright lights make me feel really uncomfortable.”

Rodd said his symptoms came from a build-up of falls but it was one which he thought was relatively innocuous which pushed him over the edge on January 28, 2021 at Eagle Farm.

“It was before a race and my horse reared up and I came off the back of it but my feet got caught up in the irons so I didn’t have a chance to get my feet back down so I fell bum first then went back and hit my head.”

“It was like a whiplash. I continued to ride but I deteriorated over time. It just got worse and worse but not knowing it was a concussion.”

“My symptoms were really bad. I kept riding but my strike rate went from 20% to 7% in three months as I was still trying to ride while sorting everything out.”

“It took a while to see a sports doctor and I was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome.”

Rodd said since he had started seeing Dr Jarosz he had made a lot of progress and could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“He’s been able to explain a lot about my symptoms and how and why they are treated,” Rodd said.

“The big thing is having the understanding of concussion and how to repair it – it’s repairable – some take longer than others and that no two concussions are the same.”

Rodd is 40 and would love to ride again but realises that was still further down the track.

“I want to get healthy first and then make a decision from there. I’ve been lucky over the years as the body has been good.”

Rodd is doing a spin bike session every day but said his main goal was for his injury to heal every day.

“The last month has been a good one. My recovery has accelerated, and I’ve seen a lot of changes.”

“It’s a graded process. I’ve got to jump over certain hoops and Brett won’t let me ride until I’m 100% ready to go and he’s 100% happy. I don’t want to look too far forward, I just want to get well. I’m slowly getting there.”