NEWCASTLE apprentice Lachlan Scorse "can't wait to get back to racing" as he continues an encouraging recovery from a brain injury sustained in a horror fall three weeks ago.
The 19-year-old fell heavily at Taree on October 29 when his mount, Balzando, broke down mid-race while close to the lead. The fall caused a chain reaction which also brought down jockeys Courtney Van Der Werf (fractured clavicle), Jeff Penza (broken ribs, punctured lung, concussion) and Jeff Kehoe. Balzando was euthanised because of a catastrophic injury to his off-foreleg.
Scorse, a grandson of late group 1-winning hoop Alan Scorse, had been race riding for less than four months. He miraculously escaped any fractures but was airlifted to John Hunter Hospital and placed in an induced coma to help his recovery from a bleed on the brain.
He was brought out of it the next day and has made steady progress, culminating with a move on Tuesday from John Hunter Hospital to the Rankin Park Rehabilitation Service. His father, former race jockey Mat Scorse, said it was "absolutely fantastic news".
"We've been rapt with the speed of his progress, and the doctors and nurses, they have been really impressed by it as well," Matt said on Tuesday. "Being so fit and young, it has just helped speed up the process of recovery, so it's been great all-round.
"We got some more good news today, we are moving out of the John Hunter wing to start the rehab process at Rankin Park. They are unsure how long that will take, but it's moving in the right direction."
While Lachlan's prognosis remains uncertain, Mat said the signs were positive.
"They cannot put a timeframe on it, but this time last week he was not moving his left arm, and now he's nearly getting full movement back in it," he said. "He's up walking on his own now. We've just got to be there to assist because he gets a little bit wobbly, but we're getting there.
"He's just got to get all the muscles and everything back working. The relay, from the brain to all the nerve, has increased every day. Last week he had a bit of tightness in his face, then he smiled and the next day he was laughing, and his speech improved at the same time. Everything is getting better, but there's a little bit to go yet."
He believed medical staff were "quietly confident" of a full recovery.
"There was a time there I spoke to one of the doctors and he said, 'I'm not certain Locky will get back to 100 per cent, back to how he was'," he said. "Then two days later, he was walking past Lachlan in the corridor, I was assisting him walking and the doctor was quite taken by it. He went 'go Locky'. He couldn't believe how well he was going."
And it was clear Lachlan remained positive about his recovery.
"We accept the dangers of racing and we know Locky's fall in particular cannot be helped," Mat said.
"When that happens, you just crash and everyone holds their breath. You hope they survive and then that they don't end up a quadriplegic or paraplegic, and that's where Locky was so fortunate. He's able to walk again ... and he just tells me he can't wait to get back to racing."
Mat said Lachlan had gained "unbelievable" support from the racing community, including a video message from retiring champion jockey Damien Oliver.
"Everyone from the top of Racing NSW, right down to the ground staff we work with here at Broadmeadow," he said of the response.
"And we've had people reach out from right around the world, and the boys in Melbourne.
"Ollie sent him a video and he was rapt to get that. The support you get in racing is unbelievable."
He said Lachlan remembers everything "up to about 40 minutes before the race" in which he fell.
He said it was amazing that he didn't sustain any broken bones.
"He had a bit of a hoof mark just above his right eye, and the bruising came out a day or two later," he said.
"That could have contributed to [the bleed], because it was on his right side. Or it could have just been the impact [hitting the ground], which was quite severe."
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