10/06/2011 2:14PM

Paralyzed jockey has rehab session

Email

A national fund-raiser Saturday for Jacky Martin will come just days after the 56-year-old rider – paralyzed from the neck down – had his first physical therapy session.

The session was a notable milestone for Martin, who has spent the better part of the last five weeks in intensive care to address injuries sustained in a spill at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico on Sept. 2.

The Jockeys’ Guild is coordinating Saturday’s fund-raiser, and has asked all riders to donate a losing-mount fee that day to help with Martin’s medical costs. His care is currently covered by a $500,000 ontrack insurance policy that Ruidoso has in place, but those funds are projected to be exhausted in early November, according to his wife, Tracey Martin.

Martin spent three weeks in an El Paso, Texas, hospital before being transferred late last month to TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. He was not strong enough to immediately begin therapy upon his transfer, but on Tuesday night was moved to the TIRR rehabilitation center in Houston, said Tracey Martin. She said his first session was Thursday.

“They’re working on lessening his dependency on the respirator,” she said.

Tracey Martin said she and her husband are grateful for the fund-raiser Saturday, as well as the support they have been receiving from jockeys. “I get lots of texts and e-mails from riders, telling us they’re keeping Jacky in their thoughts,” she said Thursday. To raise awareness for Martin, jockeys will be riding with a boot decal with his name Saturday. Martin is a seven-time winner of the prestigious All American Futurity for Quarter Horses.– Mary Rampellini