Walker: ‘I’ll be back better than ever’
Fewer than three weeks after suffering a horrific leg injury in a race fall, jockey Michael Walker says he’s counting his blessings and already planning his comeback to the saddle.
The injury was so bad that the Group 1-winning rider almost had his leg amputated and required three surgeries in five days as doctors worked to save his limb.
In the Pakenham fall, Walker tore the anterior and medial ligaments in his knee and also suffered a fractured fibula, and he will find out in the next few weeks if he requires a full knee reconstruction, which would guarantee him at least a year on the sidelines.
But the 37-year-old says he’s determined to return to racing ‘better and stronger than ever’ and is thankful every day that he still has his leg.
“It was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt, it was so bad that I was screaming for them to cut off my leg but I can’t tell you how lucky I feel that they didn’t have to,” he said.
“The doctors later told me it was touch and go and that I was less than an hour off them having to amputate.
“To get a close call like that you realise how lucky you are and I fully understand how close I came to never being able to ride again.”
Walker returned home from the Dandenong Hospital a week ago and will meet with doctors again on Thursday to better determine the next steps in his recovery.
“I’m needing crutches now and on Thursday I’ll get a hinge brace put on,” he said.
“I’m really hopeful that I won’t need a knee reconstruction, but we’ll just have to wait and see, that won’t happen until after these other injuries have healed anyway.
“If I don’t need a reco, I’m hopeful of being back in the spring but if I do it won’t be until the following year.
“Either way I can guarantee I’ll be back riding, I’m hearing that there’s already a few people doubting whether I can come back but I’d tell them to never discount ‘the Cuz’, I’ll be back as strong as ever.”