English jockey Paul Nolan has been in the United States since the 1980s, and became a popular local rider at Minnesota's Canterbury Park where he earned the nickname “The Sod Surgeon” for his skill on the turf course. In April of 2017, Nolan was paralyzed in a riding accident at Will Rogers Downs, after which he was treated at Denver's Craig Institute for several months, and according to canterburylive.com he and his wife were just this week able to move back to Minnesota, closer to their Minneapolis home.
The incident that cost Nolan his career happened on the gallop out after a race, when his mount fell and landed on top of him. Nolan remembers parts of the horrific day, including lying in the dirt unable to move and pieces of the ride in the ambulance. Though nothing in his spinal cord was severed or broken, severe swelling has still left him with the inability to move his arms or legs.
Despite it all, Nolan maintains his exceptional sense of humor. At the Craig Institute he was driving around in a wheelchair operated by a straw, through which more or less force when blowing into it allowed him to move. He joked, “I crashed into more things with that chair than I ever did on a horse.”
Read more at canterburylive.com.
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