Brian's story

Catapulted into the ground while racing a horse named Solway Dandy in Perth on July 4, 2013, jockey Brian Toomey suffered a catastrophic brain injury in the handicap hurdle.

The paramedics said I was dead for six seconds. But that was just the start. After they got me back, the doctors gave me a 3% cent chance of survival. After I pulled through that period, I couldn’t open my eyes and was paralysed. After that, I was paralysed down the left-hand side because it was the right side of my brain that got injured. I still didn’t know my family, I didn’t even know who I was.

The impact of Brian's injury

Testimonial-logoBrian was given a 3% chance of survival due to the extent of his injuries. As paramedics rushed to help him, he died for seven seconds before being revived.

Testimonial-logoHe was rushed to hospital where doctors in Dundee carried out emergency brain surgery and he was then in a coma. Nobody expected him to survive, let alone get back on a horse. 

Testimonial-logoBrian spent 157 days in hospital where he began his recovery battling memory loss as well as physical problems.

Brian's goals

Being a jockey is my passion, it was my goal to get back. That really helped me, because it was all I wanted to do. I knew I had to be near enough 100% to enable me to even apply and try and get back, so that’s what I did.

Brian's progress

It was working with the Injured Jockeys Fund that meant that Brian came into contact with our Occupational Therapists, Rachel Charles and Susannah Giles. He says, “I hadn’t a clue what occupational therapists did before the accident. I was going through a hard time. I didn’t really realise how much it was helping me.”

Rachel and Susannah worked with Brian and his multi-disciplinary team at Jack Berry House focused on structure and routine and miraculously it wasn’t long before Brian got back on a horse, and he made his racing comeback in July 2015.

It had never been done before. I’ve been told it’s apparently the biggest professional sporting comeback in the world because I actually died for seven seconds, and also, don’t forget, first they thought I would die and then they thought if I lived, I would never be able to walk or talk again… never mind be a professional jockey.

In Brian's own words

Read the Guardian article about Brian’s recovery.