‘Lucky’ Kissick facing long road to recovery

OUT OF THE SADDLE: Jockey John Kissick returns after winning on Cherokee Warrior at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club in August. Picture: Kieren L TillyJockey John Kissick is coming to grips with a long lay-off from racing after suffering a serious spinal injury on Monday.
Nanjing Night Net

Kissick, 25, is in Canberra hospital after fracturing his T-12 vertebrae in a private steer-riding session with some friends.

The good news is that Kissick has full movement in all of his limbs.

But a promising career is on hold for a yearwith doctors telling him he’s facing a year out of the saddle.

The jockey’smanager, Dean Walsh, was on his way to Canberra to visit Kissick on Tuesday afternoon but toldThe Daily Advertiserthat the prognosis could’ve been far worse.

“He’s just laid up on his back and he’s got more MRI scans this afternoon,” Walsh said.

“But at this stage, it’s six weeks ofbed rest and then, worst case, 12 months out of the saddle.

“He’s shattered, but he’s definitely lucky. It could’vebeen a lot worse.”

John Kissick

Kissick, who won his third Southern District Racing Association jockey’s premiership last season, moved to Canberra in the winter to further his career.

Although the jockey can be thankful he’s not facing a more devastating outcome,there’s no denying the disappointment of a long layoff for a hoop on the rise.

“He’s extremely disappointed –he made the move to Canberra to better his racing and he was just flying,” he said.

“He’s been riding winners everywhere and getting opportunities off good stables.

“It’s really hard, he’s doing really well and he was only going to get better and cement himself.”

After riding at Canberra on Friday (one winner), Kembla Grange on Saturday and Queanbeyan on Sunday (one winner), Kissick was at Braidwood with friends where he was thrown by a steer and landed on his head.

“It’s a hard one –he’s a young fella living his life, you can’t sit on your bum doing nothing,” Walsh said.

“Some of his mates are involved in rodeo anda few things. He’ddone it a few weeks earlier too.

“You don’t think you’re going to go out and hurt yourself.

“But it’s a shame –it’s dangerous enough going out riding (racehorses) without doing something else even more dangerous.”

Walsh said Kissick can take heart from fellow jockey Brendan Ward who made a successful return to riding after breaking his neck in a fall at Wagga two years ago.

“He’s a young bloke,” Walsh said.“He’ll get better and he’ll be back.

“He’s been going pretty hard for a long time now so maybe having a break will help.”

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