Aussie teenage jockey star in induced coma after horror fall from horse on crossing finish line
An 18-year-old apprentice jockey, who recently won a Trainee of the Year award, remains in an induced coma following her fall after a race in the rural city of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia at the weekend.
Hannah Fitzgerald plunged from her horse, Neurologic, not long after finishing fourth in the sixth race at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club's final meeting of the year.
Rushed to Kalgoorlie Health Campus and then airlifted to Perth's Royal Hospital almost 600km away with bleeding on her brain, she remains there in an induced coma.
Congratulations to Hannah Fitzgerald on securing her first city win, on Flower of Scotland in race 5 at Belmont Park! pic.twitter.com/S6z9acWQVN— RWWA (@OfficialRWWA) July 29, 2020
Apprentice Hannah Fitzgerald has been placed in a coma and is being flown to Perth for treatment after her fall at Kalgoorlie 🙏— Jay Rooney (@Jay_Rooney) October 30, 2021
In a statement on Facebook, Racing and Wagering Western Australia confirmed that it was supporting Fitzgerald's family and offered them their thoughts.
"The safety and wellbeing of our racing participants is our highest priority, and a thorough investigation into the incident is underway," it said.
"We would like to extend our appreciation to those people on-course who assisted Hannah. We will continue to provide updates on Hannah’s condition where possible".
The final race of Saturday's event was canceled as jockeys were too distraught to compete.
The youngster had enjoyed a successful afternoon until her accident by winning the first race on Aunty Jean.
Bunbury based Phil Naylor collected the cash at Kalgoorlie with Aunty Jean in the first race of the day. From everyone at the BTC we’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to Hannah Fitzgerald who, after riding this horse to victory, suffered a fall later on the day. pic.twitter.com/GHvV7JxAiv— Bunbury Turf Club (@BunburyTurfClub) October 31, 2021
Since her June 2020 debut, Fitzgerald has ridden a total of 31 winners and scooped her first victory at the iconic Belmont racecourse in Perth just days after being announced as the Trainee of the Year, also in 2020.
"I'm enjoying it a lot and it's more than I expected it to be," she had previously said about her progress.
"I'm improving as I go along, and it gets better every day."
Our thoughts are with Apprentice Hannah Fitzgerald after a nasty fall at Kalgoorlie today. Hannah has been flown to Perth for treatment. We are all sending positive vibes and love to Hannah.— West Australian Jockeys Assoc (@AssocWest) October 30, 2021
But as horse trainer Brett Pope explained to The West Australian, the fall is her second accident in 2021 alone.
"She was starting to ride some winners and then had a car crash," Pope said.
"She was out of action for four months. She had severe whiplash and it took a long time to get better. She was just starting to get into some good form again and then this happens.
"They were pretty concerned on Saturday night but it looks like it’s stabilized. The trauma to her head is what they’re worried about, the rest of her body is OK," he finished.
On Monday morning in Australia, however, ABC News reported Fitzgerald as remaining "in a critical condition".