Kevin Babington making progress and back teaching after serious neck injury

  • Irish showjumper Kevin Babington continues to make progress and is back teaching following a serious injury in a fall last summer.

    Kevin, who has represented Ireland on the European, World and Olympic stage, broke his neck in a fall at Hampton Classic Horse Show in August.

    He is continuing on his recovery programme, is teaching and in March was appointed as one of three advisors to Horse Sport Ireland’s high performance committee.

    “I’m working hard on my rehab and now have a good bit of movement in my right arm, almost to the point where I can manage the wheelchair with my hand, and I have twinges in my legs which the doctors call a good spasm,” said Kevin, who has also been using a hyperbaric oxygen chamber as part of his latest treatment.

    “The C3 and C4 vertebrae affect your diaphragm, and I was on a ventilator for quite some time at the beginning, I’ve been off that for months now so my voice and my lungs are getting stronger.

    “But it’s slow. I still have to deal with a fair amount of pain in the form of spasms, and unfortunately the physio practice I go to has been closed because of the virus but it [opened] back up on 1 June and I’m really looking forward to getting back into that.

    “I ride a stand-bike every day to keep my muscle tone up and do lots of exercises working on my strength.”

    Reflecting on the impact of the pandemic on equestrian sport, he added: “Unfortunately a lot of shows were already just about managing to survive and some of those may not make it through this.

    “It will be hard, and some of the vendors and smaller sponsors will be struggling. Once things start to reopen — as long as we don’t have a second wave of the virus — the sport should bounce back, although there’ll be changes for sure.

    “But we’ll get through this, it’s a bump in the road but our sport was generally in a healthy place before this happened, and it will turn the corner. Everyone wants it to.”

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