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.
WATCH VIDEO ABOVE: Jockeys fall in shocking scenes at Randwick and Doomben.
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Speaking to racing.com, 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.
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.
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.
https://7news.com.au/sport/horse-racing/star-jockey-michael-walker-forced-to-retire-following-tragic-brain-injury-c-9763367 Star jockey Michael Walker had to retire after suffering a life-changing brain injury