‘A long road ahead but we’ve had so much support’: update on Trevor Breen after fall left him ‘millimetres from dying’

  • Irish showjumper Trevor Breen is undergoing further surgery for three fractures of the lower neck and back incurred in a fall during the grand prix at Hamburg, Germany, on Saturday (11 May).

    Trevor’s wife Caroline Breen told Horse & Hound today (14 May) that he has undergone surgery to stabilise the most serious fracture and there has been a much more positive prognosis after a worrying few days, but “there’s still a long road ahead”.

    Dual Hickstead Derby winner Trevor Breen had been riding his family home-bred Highland President in the first round of Saturday’s 1.60m five-star Longines grand prix of Hamburg when they had a heavy fall at an oxer. Screens were quickly assembled round Trevor and he was attended to at the scene for half an hour.

    Immediate medical attention crucial after Trevor Breen’s fall

    Caroline says the immediate on-site medical attention proved crucial and she is hugely grateful to Hamburg show organiser Volker Wulff and his medical team, led by a leading on-site consultant.

    “They were phenomenal,” said Caroline, who had been watching ringside when the fall happened. “They knew straight away that he had a neurological fracture from doing tests on him on the floor. I can’t thank them enough for saving him – he was just millimetres away from dying from a severed spinal cord.”

    Trevor was taken straight to hospital and put in an induced coma but he has since been transferred to a top spinal surgery unit in Hamburg, where he has already undergone one operation. Having originally said Trevor may not be able to ride or walk again, doctors say the prognosis is now much brighter.

    “The top orthopaedic surgeon in the hospital has been my point of contact the whole way through, which is amazing,” said Caroline. “He has three fractures in the lower neck and back and a lot of dislocations. The major fracture has been repaired, the spinal cord has been saved; he has no paralysis and he’ll be able to walk and ride again at some point.

    “He’s having an MRI scan now to see if they need to fix anything else, but he’ll definitely need one more operation as they continue to stabilise the first fracture – first they had to go in the front, now they have to go in from behind.

    “He’s just sat up for the first time with a massive team of physios, he’s talking, and within a week of the next operation, he’ll be flown home with me and that’s when he’ll start his rehab to get him up and about at home.

    “He met the consultant this morning and he showed him the X-rays and scans and had a really long chat with him about the future, so he’s in a much better place now than he was yesterday anyway.

    “It’s a long road ahead and we have a long way to go, but if everything continues to go as it’s going now, it’s an amazing prognosis.”

    An update on Highland President

    Caroline also said that 12-year-old Highland President, with whom European team silver medallist Trevor was recently reunited after a spell with Cian O’Connor, is back home and being attended to by their vet, but will be “absolutely fine”.

    “He only had a superficial cut with a few stitches,” she said.

    “I woke up this morning and had 436 unread messages; I’m replying to everyone, but all the offers that have come from people in the equestrian community are just unbelievable. We’re very blessed and very thankful for all the good wishes, and so grateful to the show organisers and what they’ve done to help us, we’ve had so much support – everyone in the medical teams in Hamburg has been phenomenal. I can’t thank them enough.”

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