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Horseman Faces Long Recovery

Published: July 14, 2016 2:23 pm ET

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The good news is that Don Pleterski is alive. The bad news is that the Thoroughbred trainer suffered substantial injuries on June 26 at the Fort Erie Race Track when he was critically injured by an out of control horse. Now, the Ontario Thoroughbred industry has been urged to step up for one of its own.

Pleterski’s name was not mentioned in mainstream media accounts when they ran their stories of the frightening accident. Although, as a follow-up story by the Toronto Star explains, Pleterski’s family is now facing the enormous task of bringing Don back to health. Don and his wife, Kathy, are both in the Ontario Thoroughbred industry full-time. It goes without saying that if they are not racing horses, they are not making money.

In 2015, only three Canadians were transported across the border to the Erie County Medical Center for emergency care. Although the numbers for 2016 are unknown at this time, Don was rushed across the border to the facility after the accident, and understandably so, given the situation.

Don, 65, suffered a fractured skull, and both of his lungs collapsed. Surgery was necessary to due bleeding on his brain. The horseman sustained multiple fractures to his face, along with fractures to his neck, ribcage and lower back.

Don’s daughter, Susan, has told The Star that breathing tubes were recently removed, but that her father is still weak, confused, and trying to speak.

Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario President Sue Leslie has said that her organization would be in a position to help, if approached. “We certainly are not going to see them stranded or unable to live with some dignity while he is recovering,” she was quoted as saying. “That’s our role.”

A GoFundMe Page has been set up to help the family during this trying time.

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering Don Pleterski a complete recovery from his injuries.

(With files from the Toronto Star)

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