Mullings on road to recovery after fall
Dania Bogle, Gleaner Writer
Jockey Oneil Mullings, who suffered a double neck fracture and broken leg during a horrific spill at Caymanas Park in August, said he hopes to be able to resume training again in January, with a February or March target to officially begin racing again.
The 38-year-old fell from his three-year-old chestnut colt, THORNHILL LAD, which stumbled at the 600-metre marker in the 10th and final race at the Park on Saturday, August 16. Three other horses were involved in the accident.
Jockeys Aaron Chatrie and Delroy Beharie escaped serious injury, while a fourth rider, ace apprentice O'Brien White, was treated at hospital and released a short while later.
Mullings, who spent several days in hospital with broken bones in his neck and right leg, has been undergoing therapy while spending much of his time resting, he told The Gleaner. He was initially given a four-month recovery period by doctors, but is now into his fifth month of recuperation.
Mullings was lucky, the prognosis had been for surgery on his broken neck, but he told The Gleaner that so far he has escaped any major operations.
"I'm blessed and I accept it. I count my blessings," he said, adding that he has been able to do exercise and spend time at the gym, though nothing intensive.
"I'm not able to ride right now. I am disappointed, but I don't mumble or complain with God by my side, He said, 'He who believes in Me will never perish but have everlasting life.' I concentrate on doing a lot more things than riding."
With five children and medical expenses, Mullings has turned to other vocations to earn, now that one of his major sources of income has been interrupted. He told The Gleaner that he sells bag juice and other items in a wholesale he operates with his mother in the Waterhouse community of St Andrew where he resides.
"It costs me a lot, so I have to spend a lot - taxi fare, my kids have to eat. It costs me maintenance, household, I have to have someone to take care. Those expenses come out of my pocket. At the end of the day, I got to do what I got to do to survive. I'm a family man. I have kids all over the place. It can't hamper me being out of the saddle."
Mullings also received an insurance payout from the Jamaica Racing Commission and he also commended the JRC's Welfare Officer, Ena Lawrence, for the interest she had shown since his accident.
"(She) has been a good lady for me so far, but she can't do it alone. It needs a body of we (us) to fight."