Jockey Romario Smith on the mend after suffering stroke in the saddle

Jockey Romario Smith on the mend after suffering stroke in the saddle

Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

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Apprentice jockey Romario Smith, who suffered a stroke while in the saddle in competitive race riding at Caymanas Park on February 26, 2020, says he is “recovering well” at home and is able to move his right arm and leg, but still unable to walk.

After finishing the fifth race aboard Crafty Zella Zeen, Smith fell from his mount while pulling up, and hit his head on the hard surface of the racetrack as he suffered the stroke attack.

After he fell, he had difficulty standing and was later rushed to the hospital where it was discovered he had a stroke, which led to his fall, resulting in internal and physical injuries.

Smith was hospitalised for three weeks with a head injury and blood clots which were said to be resting on his brain. This caused the right side of his body to be partially paralysed. He was, however, discharged from the hospital with a referral to a physiotherapist to continue his recovery.

Smith is said to have made “great strides” working with his therapist, and on his last appointment to the hospital, he claimed he was told by the doctor that only a small amount of clots remained. The doctor is said to have also advised that he should be back to normal within the next six months.

Still, it has been a hard road back for the reinsman.

Smith, who uses his wheelchair occasionally, is more focused on his programme to get walking again. His hand, he claims, is improving and is almost functional.

“It [the recovery] has been good so far, so I can't complain... the only issue I have right now is to walk. I am getting back the strength in my hand and my foot [leg], but I am having issues trying to walk, so that is what I am trying to get over now. It will be next year before I am back in the saddle, so I am really disappointed, but I am just hoping and praying for the best,” Smith told the Jamaica Observer.

Smith got support from the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) with purchasing a wheelchair as well as payments for ten sessions of his therapy. Supreme Ventures has also assisted Smith with the payment of his licensing fees and insurance for the current licensing period.

“I have been doing gym and therapy, and they say I have been coming on because things I wasn't able to do over the last two months I am able to do that now. So financially things have been tough for me, but I have to be fighting my way through.

“My biggest plan right now is to just get through the recovery process, because I signed a three-year contract which has already been messed up due to the injury, and so I am hoping to bounce back to finish the last half of that contract,” Smith said.

Jockey Smith has conveyed thanks and appreciation to the Jamaica Racing Commission as well as Supreme Ventures for assisting in his recovery.

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