Four-star eventer suffers brain injury in fall

  • A four-star event rider who suffered a brain injury when her horse slipped on the flat has thanked all those who came to her aid and have supported her since the fall.

    Lucy Kemplay was competing in an unaffiliated 80cm one-day event at Aston-le-Walls in Northamptonshire when the horse she was riding, Lady (not pictured), slipped between fences seven and eight and rolled over Lucy.

    “I don’t remember anything — I don’t remember driving to the event, doing my dressage and showjumping or anything about the fall,” said Lucy, who is now recuperating at home near Market Harborough in Northamptonshire. “Lady lost her footing and we both went down, according to witnesses.”

    Lucy was knocked unconscious. The five-year-old she was riding, who was unhurt in the fall, had scored 27.5 (72.5%) in the dressage and showjumped clear. They had incurred no cross-country faults before the accident.

    “The doctor was with Lucy within a minute and although she came round, they worked to stabilise her for 30 minutes,” explained Lucy’s mother, Philippa Mulley. “The air ambulance arrived and Lucy was taken to University Hospital Coventry, where she was placed in an induced coma and put on life support with a suspected brain injury.”

    But initial scans showed no damage to Lucy’s brain and she was brought round after 24 hours.

    “Lucy still didn’t feel well and it was clear her memory and balance were damaged,” said Philippa. “So after three days, doctors conducted another scan, which revealed two small bleeds on her brain. Thankfully doctors said all along that Lucy will make a full recovery with no permanent damage.”

    After two weeks in Coventry, of which Lucy says she has no recollection, she was moved to the neurological unit at Leicester General Hospital where she stayed for three weeks.

    “I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone — from the doctor and paramedics who were first on scene, to the air ambulance, hospital staff and to all my friends and family who have helped me and sent lovely messages,” said Lucy. “I also want to say a huge thank you to my groom Stuart Ward, who has been amazing and has kept the whole yard going for the past six weeks.”

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    Lucy, who has competed successfully at three-star level with a number of top 10 placings and was 13th at Burghley in 2004 riding Karl D’Cymbeline, hopes to be back on a horse in December or January.

    “I’m trying to keep busy in the mean time, mucking out and sweeping around the yard!” she said.

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