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Paralysed rider says he was born to be a jockey

Freddy Tylicki: suffered life-changing injuries in a fall at Kempton
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Freddy Tylicki has stressed he has no regrets about becoming a jockey despite the incident that left him paralysed from the waist down in a fall he has still not watched.

He was visited by BBC Radio 5 Live's Adrian Chiles in the hospital where he is being treated for injuries suffered in the four-horse pile-up at Kempton last October.

In his first broadcast interview since the accident he said: "A few of my colleagues have watched the fall but I haven't myself. They were saying I'm actually very lucky to be here.

"There's no point in me watching it. I was there, that's enough. I do remember everything. Unfortunately that's racing, in a way."

Staying positive the key

Tylicki spent a fortnight in intensive care and left hospital in December to continue his rehabilitation at the London Spinal Cord Unit, with support from the Injured Jockeys Fund.

"When you're in hospital things are very, very tough," he said. "You move on to rehab then and you get to learn these new skills and new ways of doing everything."

But Tylicki, who had been enjoying a stellar year at the time of his fall, is refusing to dwell on his ill fortune.

"There's always someone worse than you," he said. "You've just got to do the best you can out of the situation. Staying positive is the main thing. It can be hard sometimes and easier other days. You've just got to learn how to deal with it."

Rehab the focus

Tylicki suffered T7 paralysis in the fall, which means he no longer has movement in the lower half of his body.

He recalled: "The first time I woke up after the operation I was lying in bed and I knew I couldn't feel anything. That's when I knew I was in trouble.

"Shortly after that, the doctor filled me in on what happened – the injuries I'd received. I just had to get cracking from then on.

"I'm living my life day to day. The immune system is very low and infections can happen easily, but I'm concentrating on my rehab and physio."

The former champion apprentice is the son of a German champion jockey, and said: "I was born to do it. I saw the ups and downs and the toughness of the job, but from around 12 years of age I knew I was going to be a jockey.

"I think if you ask any Flat jockey they'd agree the jump jockeys are much braver than us Flat lads – one in every ten rides is a fall. Accidents do happen in racing. It's a risky sport and you're aware of it as a jockey, but you don't think about it." 

A GoFundMe page to raise money to help Tylicki's recovery, set up by ITV Racing presenter Matt Chapman, collected more than £330,000.

"The support I've been getting is tremendous and unbelievable," he said. "I don't quite know how to thank everyone. It's been absolutely amazing."

The interview can be heard on Tuesday on 5 Live Daily, which is broadcast at 10am on BBC Radio 5 Live.

The support I've been getting is tremendous and unbelievable. I don't quite know how to thank everyone

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