INJURED jockey John Kissick has vowed to return to the saddle despite undergoing surgery for a broken back last week.
Kissick will spend the next 12 months on the sidelines after fracturing his T-12 vertebrae in a steer-riding accident in Braidwood last month.
Kissick successfully underwent surgery last week, where he had two screws and a rod inserted from his T10 through to his T12 vertebrae.
Kissick, a three-time winner of the Southern District jockey’s premiership, considers himself lucky despite his unfortunate situation.
“Definitely lucky. It could have been a lot worse,” Kissick said.
“I might not have been able to ride again, or even walk again.”
Kissick was riding steers with friends, like he had done before, when he was thrown and landed heavily on his head and back.
“I knew straight away that I had broken my back,” he explained.
“I felt it lock up. I could feel my hands and feet but that was about it.
“It was pretty frightening. I went straight into shock.”
Kissick is now resting up with family in Griffith, post surgery.
He is no longer in pain and is looking forward to the next stage of his recovery when he can begin physiotherapy next month.
“It’s good, I’m not in any pain anymore,” he said.
“It’s just a waiting game at the moment. I’m resting up, I can’t do much.
“I can start physio after six weeks.
“The screw and rods get taken out in 12 months so it’s pretty frustrating.”
Kissick, 25, won the past two SDRA premierships while based at Wagga and was the leader this season at the time of his accident.
In recent months, he moved to Canberra to strengthen ties with strong stables based in the nation’s capital. It also provided him with a more central location to be able to ride at different venues across NSW.
While still shaken from the injury, Kissick is determined to return to racing as soon as he can.
“100 per cent, that’s my main goal,” he said.
“I’ve got lots of goals I have set for myself along the way.
“Things were going really good in Canberra, I was getting a lot of opportunities and I really liked it.
“As soon as I get back racing, I want to go back to Canberra again.”
While sidelined from riding for a minimum of 12 months, Kissick hopes to return to racing as a stablehand next year.
His latest injury continues a bad run for Kissick, who has also sustained a shattered pelvis, broken collarbone and broken wrist since starting out in 2008.