As some of you are aware, jockey Michael Mitchell had a fall at the last fence in the first race at this year’s Queen’s Cup. For the most part, it looked a normal type of fall but the horse Michael was riding had a trailing hind leg swing round and catch him on the side of his face and jaw. It was one of those things that neither horse nor jockey could have been blamed for. Knocked out on the spot, Michael, 26, had suffered a pretty severe concussion and the EMT’s on the scene were very quick to get the situation stabilized.
Upon assessment of all the injuries Michael had suffered, it was considered the best option to airlift him from CMC Waxhaw to CMC Main in Uptown Charlotte. There, Michael was to become a member of the ICU unit for a short while. The injuries he sustained were a broken eye socket and cheekbone as well as a shattered jaw. Michael himself would be the first to admit that the helmet he was wearing probably had a lot to do with limiting the injuries to just that.
To put things in perspective, the kick Michael got to his face and head would have been like Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frasier hitting you with their best shot all at one time. Young Mr. Mitchell however is tougher than most. I sat with him at his hospital bed around 36 hours after his fall and he asked if there was a chance he could be racing again in 2 weeks. Although that was a lofty goal, it does show very clearly how tough this guy is. Never one to let a situation get him down, Michael has been a model of pleasantness and good humor all while having a metal plate around his eye socket and his jaw wired shut.
Although Michael is on the road to recovery and in good spirits, there is a saying in this business that “good will won’t pay a bill” and unfortunately that is where we are at now. Michael will be out of work for 6-8 weeks and does have continuing hospital bills to pay along with international flights for his mother, Di Mitchell. Di came over on the first flight she could and has been an absolute rock since landing in Charlotte. Jump jockeys in the USA are considered independent contractors and do not have a fund in place to pay them while they are out with injuries or illness.
Rallying Together to Support Michael
In order to counteract this, The Queen’s Cup and The American Steeplechase Injured Jockeys Fund are starting a fund to raise money for Michael and his family to cover as much of his costs as possible. If you would like to help Michael, tax deductible donations may be made through the American Steeplechase Injured Jockeys Fund’s PayPal account by CLICKING HERE which for now is not currently mobile phone compatible. Please check out American Steeplechase Injured Jockeys Fund on Facebook. Please make sure you add Michael Mitchell’s name under “add special instructions to the seller”.
These types of things don’t happen too often thankfully, but when they do we find a tremendous response from the public and community. Thank you in advance for your thoughts, prayers and generosity. See you at the races.
UPDATE: May 18, 2017 – Michael will be flying down to Charlotte at the end of May for several days to meet with surgeon Dr. Stanley Getz to have his jaw scanned and repair to his jaw, cheekbone and eye socket intensely reviewed. If everything is ok, they will unwire his jaw. Michael still suffers from headaches both in the morning and evening. The doctors will continue to monitor his temple where an aneurysm formed from the blow to the head and subsequent concussion.