Star jockey Michael Walker had to retire after suffering a life-changing brain injury

25-time Group 1 winner Michael Walker has retired after an injury-cursed career marred by brain trauma following a horrific fall at the Pakenham Jumpouts in 2022.

Although he has since undergone rehab, the father of four has admitted he will not be returning.

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Speaking to, Walker said horse racing is no longer an option.

“With the brain injury, it’s just something I can never do again,” he said.

He said that sometimes he thought he was getting better, but it was a daily struggle and he still needed a journal to remember things.

Jockey Michael Walker has retired after more than 2000 victories due to a brain injury following a racing crash. Credit: Kelly definition/Getty Images

Walker also broke his back in the last accident and now needs weekly physical therapy.

“When I don’t go to physio it’s like I can barely walk or pick up the kids… Everything that happened with that last injury completely changed my life.

“Things are so different. I would like to go to the races. I miss seeing horses but I just fight. I’m getting tired. With noise and people around you, it makes you tired. When there is too much going on around me, it annoys me.”

In 2021, Walker had a horrific fall – also in Pakenham – and was left with a broken leg in two places, a torn cruciate ligament and compartment syndrome (a condition where pressure builds under the skin).

He returned 12 months later, but a second fall in the jumpouts left him with head trauma and a severe concussion. He was flown to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne and placed in an induced coma for several days.

Trainers Cindy Alderson and Michael Walker at Moonee Valley in January. Credit: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

A week after the second accident, Walker told Radio TAB: “I’m still alive, but I promise you I’m not who I used to be.

“I’m a very long way behind what I used to be, but that’s all part of what happens in some part of my job.

“Hopefully one day I can come back to myself.

“I’m not quite there mentally and that’s not a damn good thing.”

Born in New Zealand, Walker has enjoyed a glittering career with 1,177 wins, 25 Group 1 wins and an estimated $54 million in prize money.

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James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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