Irish showjumper Kevin Babington is working hard on his rehabilitation after a fall nine months ago left him paralysed from the chest down.
But the US-based Irish Olympian and 2001 European Jumping team gold medallist is still coaching riders from his wheelchair, wearing a headset and accompanied by his “bodyguards”, his family’s three Australian shepherds Dylan, Millie and his closest friend, three-year-old Delilah.
“I’m working hard on my rehab and now have a good bit of movement in my right arm, almost to the point where I can manage the wheelchair with my hand, and I have twinges in my legs which the doctors call a good spasm. The C3 and C4 vertebrae affect your diaphragm, and I was on a ventilator for quite some time at the beginning. I’m off that for months now so my voice and my lungs are getting stronger.
“But it’s slow. I still have to deal with a fair amount of pain in the form of spasms, and unfortunately, the physio practice I go to has been closed because of the virus but I’m really looking forward to getting back into that. I ride a stand-bike every day to keep my muscle tone up and do lots of exercises working on my strength,” Babington says. He has also been using a hyperbaric oxygen chamber as part of his latest treatment.