Ritchie Recovering After Sudbury Spill

Published: September 1, 2008 05:00 pm EDT

A scary accident at Sudbury Downs on Saturday evening earned driver Jim Ritchie an overnight stay in St. Joseph's Hospital, but the veteran horseman is now home and recovering nicely.

The three-horse accident occurred in an OSS Grassroots division for three-year-old pacing fillies. Tennessee Starlit (Travis Bowman) made a break and fell while sitting fourth on the rail, and Ritchie, who was driving Armed And Fabulous, was right on that one's back.

Ritchie couldn't avoid the fallen horse, and as a result was catapulted from his bike. Mckenna Seelster (Cory Gaudet) was right behind Ritchie's horse, and that one got tangled up and fell, as well. Ritchie hit the track hard with his upper body, and was knocked unconscious as a result.

Ritchie's brother, Paul, who witnessed the spill first hand, told Trot Insider his brother was very fortunate to walk away from the spill in one piece.

"Steve Gillard was the first person to get to him, and he opened up Jim's airway," Ritchie said. "Jim was trying to get up and his eyes were in the back of his head. You could tell he was trying to take a deep breath, but he couldn't move. It looked like he had the wind knocked out of him."

Ritchie was transported by ambulance to Sudbury's St. Joseph's Hospital, where physicians diagnosed Ritchie with a concussion.

"They took a CAT-scan that night, and took another one the next morning," said Paul Ritchie. "They originally thought the CAT-scan showed some bleeding in the brain, and that's why they kept him overnight and took the second scan the next morning. He was released yesterday afternoon and was told to take it easy."

Ritchie, who suffered bad bruising on the right side of his body, was very lucky to come away from the accident with no broken bones. He was advised to check in with his family doctor every two or three days for the next 10 days for check-ups.

"The doctors told him to be careful of watching his head symptoms," added Paul Ritchie. "He's got to go to the family doctor every two or three days just to make sure everything is alright. If he starts improving every day, then he should be fine."

Please join Standardbred Canada in wishing Jim a speedy recovery.

To view Saturday's results, click here.