The Brock Talk

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jockey Rene Douglas Facing Possible Paralysis

Author's Note: The following was taken directly from the Sunday edition of Daily Racing Form and was written by Marcus Hersh. To read the complete article, click on the Daily Racing Form link under "Other Horse Racing Sites" on The Brock Talk.

I have also created a Get Well Card for Rene Douglas and the family on Facebook. In the first 30 hours, we have had support from more than 1,000 fans and the group continues to grow. You may become a member by searching for the "Rene Douglas Get Well Card" group on Facebook @ If you do not have a Facebook account, you will never have a better reason to sign up.
CHICAGO - Jockey Rene Douglas, injured badly in a spill Saturday at Arlington Park, underwent what was termed successful surgery to repair back and neck injuries early Sunday morning at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. But Douglas remained paralyzed in the lower part of his legs, the long-term repercussions of his injuries may not be known for two weeks, and Douglas's prognosis is day-to-day, according to Doreen Razo.

Razo, the wife of jockey Eddie Razo, and a good friend of Douglas's wife, Natalie, was at both Northwest Hospital in Arlington Heights, to which Douglas was taken after going down in the Arlington Matron, and with him at Northwestern, where the surgery was performed between 2:30 and 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

Douglas responded well after coming out of sedation following his surgery Sunday afternoon, said Razo, and squeezed hands with others in his intensive-care-unit room when prompted to do so. Douglas is fitted with a breathing tube because of several broken ribs, and so cannot speak. But Razo said Douglas was "as responsive as they wanted him to be" when assessed by medical personnel after his surgery before being sedated again Sunday night.

The surgery, which required an incision from neck to buttocks, took seven hours, but had been expected to last as much as 2 1/2 hours longer. Screws were inserted to stabilize two fractures in vertebrae at Douglas's neck; that injury is serious, but it was Douglas's other spinal injury, to the thoracic discs lower on his spine, that is the more consequential. Razo said that Douglas had compressed the T-5 and T-6 vertebrae in his back.

"The T-5 got jammed into the T-6, and that put pressure on the spinal cord," Razo said.

With three doctors present during the surgery, the vertebrae were decompressed and then fused. This procedure was deemed successful, but until inflammation and trauma to the area subside, long-term assessment remains difficult. Douglas will spend two weeks in the ICU before being transferred to a Northwestern rehabilitation clinic.

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