Grim prognosis for injured jockey
By BART SINCLAIR and EDEN HARRINGTON
14Jan02

DOCTORS have told Alan Cowie's family the jockey will almost certainly never walk again after being involved in an horrific fall at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

"The doctors have told them there is a 99 per cent chance Alan won't walk again," Cowie's racing manager Damien Hay said.
"Naturally everyone is clinging to the faint hope he might beat the odds.

"If it is the worst then it will be a difficult thing for Alan to get through because he is such an active person. He loves golf and tennis."

Cowie, 33, underwent spinal surgery yesterday after suffering crushed vertebrae when his mount Northern Friend crashed rounding the first turn of the Marriotts Resort Handicap (1300m) on Magic Millions day.

Northern Friend came to grief after being squeezed between runners, dragging Cowie to the ground along with Caramel Star (Matt Bennett).

Bennett escaped serious injury while Cowie was rushed to the Gold Coast hospital immediately after the fall.

However, when the extent of the jockey's injuries were confirmed medical staff pressed to have him airlifted to the spinal unit at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

However Cowie's transfer to Brisbane for emergency surgery had to be postponed until yesterday. "The doctors felt he wasn't in a state to be moved," Hay said.

"He was sedated and the airlift and operation re-booked for today."

Cowie's partner Lisa Cuddihy and their son Jarrod, 12 months, have kept a bedside vigil at the hospital alongside the jockey's parents, who rushed down from Rockhampton to be alongside their son.

The ramifications of Cowie's medical advice have left his friends, family and fellow riders grief stricken with the jockey's career having bloomed in the past 12 months.

Last season Cowie claimed top honours as the Gold Coast's premier rider and this season had been concentrating on riding at metropolitan meetings and was being rewarded for his endeavours.

A date for the resumption of a stewards inquiry into the fall will depend on Cowie's condition.

Initial evidence was taken at the track from jockeys including Mike Pelling, Stathi Katsidis, Dario Vargiu Justin Stanley and Matthew Bennett.


This report appears on news.com.au.