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Fears grow for stricken Sammy Jo Bell after Carlisle fall

By Frank Brownlow

Ulster jockey Sammy Jo Bell is remaining upbeat despite being confined to a wheelchair for at least six weeks due to complications with injuries sustained in a fall at Carlisle a week ago.

Sammy Jo fractured part of her pelvis when her mount Royal Duchess reared up and fell on the 24-year-old on the way to the start of a race.

CT scans taken at York District Hospital on Tuesday revealed further complications and the Dunadry rider was transferred to Hull Royal Infirmary a day later.

Sammy Jo burst on to the scene last summer when she became the first female rider to be crowned leading jockey at the prestigious Shergar Cup at Ascot.

"There's nothing I can do about it, so I just have to get on with it," she said.

"I will do everything I can to help it heal as quickly as possible. I have not seen the surgeon since the operation, so I have not discussed what I can and can't do.

"I know I can't do anything with my legs, but I have no idea if I can do any upper body work to keep my fitness up."

Sammy Jo, based at the Yorkshire yard of top trainer Richard Fahey, added: "There's never an ideal time to get injured but the middle of the season has to be the worst.

"It helps that I know that in a way I was lucky, because I'm alive and well. It could have been a whole worse. It was a nasty moment.

"I'm young, fit and healthy, so hopefully once I'm out of the chair I can start rehab and get back.

"I don't know when is realistic at the moment, I don't have a date or a target to work towards yet," she said.

Sammy Jo's agent Richard Hale added: "They operated on her on Wednesday and unfortunately for her they've had to put a plate in. They've told her no weight-bearing for six weeks, so she'll need a chair to get about.

"Her mum is coming over to look after her as she'll be pretty helpless for the first few weeks, I'd imagine.

"They have told her, though, if she can put one leg on the floor they might let her out.

"Who knows how long she'll be out for."

He continued: "The most important thing first is she gets back on her feet."

Belfast Telegraph


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