05/23/2017 11:46AM

Steeplechase jockey Paddy Young critical but stable with head trauma

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Five-time champion steeplechase jockey Paddy Young is in critical but stable condition in a Pennsylvania hospital after being involved in a spill Saturday at the Radnor Races in Malvern, Pa., according to his wife, Leslie Young.

Leslie Young, a steeplechase trainer, said Paddy Young suffered head trauma after being kicked by a trailing horse when his mount, King’s Apollo, fell trying to negotiate a fence in the $30,000 Radnor Hunt Cup, a timber stakes race.

Leslie Young said her husband was wearing a new A.P. McCoy helmet, which she believes helped prevent further damage.

“I’m glad he had that new helmet on,” she said.

Leslie Young said doctors at Paoli Hospital, about eight miles from where the races were held, had to remove a piece of her husband’s skull to relieve pressure on the brain. Young had bleeding on the left side of his brain, she said.

“He can move his arms and his legs and he has had his eyes open,” Leslie Young said. “They had to restrain him. I don’t think he probably knows what happened. He’s trying to rip out his breathing tube. They’ve kept him sedated. I was calling it an induced coma, but it’s not - it’s just that he’s heavily sedated.

“He’s on a breathing tube, but not because he cannot breathe on his own. They put him on a breathing tube because it helps give him good oxygen. Right now, while he’s in this state, they want him to have good oxygen.”

Leslie Young said that her husband also suffered a fracture of the C-7 vertebrae in his back.

Leslie Young said doctors are hopeful Paddy will make a full recovery.

“They seem hopeful barring any infection or something else,” she said. “As of now they’re not stressing me out too much. It’s just so hard. The saving grace with Paddy is all the years he has been riding he’s been blessed with never having had a head injury or never being knocked out.”

A native of Banbridge, County Down, Ireland, Paddy Young came to the U.S. in 2003 and has ridden close to 200 winners. In fact, Leslie Young believes that her husband could have reached that plateau Saturday had he not fallen.

“He loved what he’s doing," she said. "I don’t think he’d want it any other way. The jump jockeys, they’re a different breed.”