Apprentice jockey Lachlan Scorse is on the road to recovery following a horrific four-horse fall at Taree on October 29, which left the 19-year-old with bleeding on the brain.
Following the nasty incident, which left jockeys Jeff Kehoe, Courtney Van Der Werf, and Jeff Penza all suffering varying injuries, Scorse was in critical condition and airlifted to John Hunter Hospital, where he was placed in an induced coma.
The young hoop spent 23 days in John Hunter Hospital before being transferred to Rankin Park Rehabilitation Hospital, where he spent another week.
On Thursday, Scorse moved to Hunter Brain Injury Service at Bar Beach and even spent his first weekend at home as he took the next positive steps on his road to recovery.
“I’m just working on those one-percenters, which will get me back to normal life and back to work,” Scorse told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.
“I’m doing five hours of rehab a day and working with speech pathologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and all that.
“I’ll be here for at least four weeks, and the doctors can’t really give me a timeframe and
they said it could go six or ten weeks or a little less, but I’m not rushing it, and I’m definitely listening to the doctors and doing what they say.”
Scorse doesn’t remember anything about the fall, but he touched on what was a ‘surreal feeling’ when waking up in John Hunter Hospital after the ‘freak accident’.
“I remember about an hour before the race, and then the next thing, I just woke up in the hospital,” Scorse said.
“I remember thinking, ‘Where am I?’ and I buzzed the nurse, and she told me what had happened.”
Scorse considers himself lucky to be alive after watching the vision of the fall and knowing full well the significance of his brain injuries.
“When I saw the footage and knew I was alive, I was just very grateful to the paramedics on course, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, and the doctors at John Hunter Hospital,” Scorse said.
“It was quite a horrific fall, but with the progress I’ve made, especially this week, it’s enormous, and I’m feeling much better.
“I’m receiving the best care and rehab, and I’m just so grateful.”
In terms of lingering issues, Scorse described what was a stroke, with the young jockey recovering from weakness to the left side of his body.
“I had a bleed on the brain, swelling on the brain, and it’s basically like I’ve had a stroke,” Scorse said.
“My right side of the brain is affected, which is why my left side is a bit weaker, but I was lucky not to break any bones.
“In the first couple of days, I had no movement in my left arm, which was very frustrating, and if I needed to scratch my right shoulder, I couldn’t do it.
“Not having my independence was also quite frustrating, but that motivated me to keep improving.
“They said that with me being young, determined, and fit, it has helped me improve so much.
“I’m probably only 60% there, and I’m still notably weaker on that left side. There is nothing I can’t do in everyday life, but my left arm still needs work, and I’m getting there.”
With Hunter Brain Injury Service closing up over the Christmas and New Year break, Scorse is working harder than ever to be ready to go home and stay home in the new year, and he is already eyeing a return to the saddle.
“I’d love to be capable of staying home after Christmas and continuing my rehab from there, but I’ll let the doctors guide me on what I need to do,” Scorse said.
“I’m doing everything I need to do, and I will get back in the saddle.
“There is a long way to go, but I will make sure I do it the right way and take my time doing it.
“I don’t want to rush; hopefully, when I’m ready, the doctors will give me the clearance, and I’ll be back in the saddle.”
The racing community has rallied by their injured comrade, and the Scorse family has felt the love.
“I’ve had a lot of support around me, and that is one really good thing about the racing community,” Scorse said.
“People from work and my family have been there, and I’ve had so much support and a lot of visitors.
“Mentally, I am doing good, and physically, some things are still hard, but I’m in a really good position.”
Scorse and his family have been rapt by the outpouring of support and the quality of care at John Hunter Hospital, Rankin Park Rehabilitation Hospital, and Hunter Brain Injury Service.
They would love anyone willing to donate to help support the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, which saves lives all over the country daily.
To donate, click here the link below.