Support Needed for Fallen Jockeys
Written on the 21 April 2017
There's no doubt the career of a jockey is a dangerous one, with chances of serious injury and death a real possibility. Since records began, 883 have been killed in race falls, with 17 fatalities since 2000. There are approximately 500 falls each year in both trackwork and races, and roughly 200 jockeys are injured.
April 8th was a particularly fateful day when Darren Jones, 49, lost his life in the third race at Warialda in northern NSW. Two jockeys were thrown on the same day at the Sydney Cup when Almoonqith fell. Although the horse had to be euthanised, the jockeys avoided serious injury. On the same day before the Toowoomba Weetwood, two former jockeys, Ben Saunders, 54, and Wade Clasohm, 47, fell during early morning trackwork, and are not likely to walk again.
Trackwork rider Kate Nipperess last week defied the odds however, when she walked out of hospital with the aid of a walker, more than eight months after suffering spinal injuries at Warwick Farm.
Wade Clasohm's wife, Kim spoke to Radio TAB this week about the tragedy and her husband's injuries.
Her account of the incident was that Ben and Wade were galloping alongside each other and on the bend, Ben's horse went down which caused both former jockeys to fall, with Wade's horse falling on top of Ben.
Both jockeys are currently undergoing treatment and rehabilitation after surgery at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.
Kim said that Wade's T4 & T5 were fractured, severing the spinal cord and has rendered him a paraplegic. He's expected to undergo 9 to 12 months rehabilitation.
"He will never walk again," she said.
Parents of three children aged 16, 14 and 12, the accident has left the family without any income.
Kim owns a mobile baby animal farm business which she currently has on the market to sell so she can be Wade's carer. Wade was also the driver for the family with Kim unable to drive.
Despite the tragedy, Kim remains positive.
"We're thankful - I know this sounds terrible, but we could have been the other jockey that fell (Darren Jones) and actually died on the weekend. We could be that family right now. We're staying positive and thankful - that even though he's broken his back and will never walk again, he can still move his arms, he is still breathing on his own, he can still talk to us. Because he was awake the whole time, there's no brain injuries at all. It could have been so much more worse and we're thankful we've still got him," Kim said.
Kim went on to say that Racing Queensland and many others have been very supportive.
For Kim however, it is a scary time, with a mortgage, a family to raise and no current income, so a Go Fund Me campaign has been set up to help the family at this time while they get back on their feet. If you would like to help Wade and his family, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/wish-for-wade
(Photo: Ben Saunders (Left) and Wade Clasohm - Photo Credit: The Chronicle)