Jockey Murphy Bruises Spinal Cord in Fall

By Claire Novak
Jockey Cindy Murphy remained hospitalized Friday after she was thrown in the fifth race at Prairie Meadows Thursday night. According to her husband, Travis Murphy, the jockey did not sustain any broken bones or head trauma from the accident, but was experiencing temporary paralysis due to a bruised spinal cord.

Murphy fell when her mount, a 4-year-old filly named Ninnescah, was bumped leaving the gate in a 5 1/2-furlong claiming event for maiden fillies and mares. Breaking from the eight hole, Ninnescah was bumped by the seven horse, Kentucky Risk. The filly stumbled badly and threw Murphy, who may have been hit by her mount's hooves after falling. Racing at the Altoona track was delayed approximately 20 minutes as paramedics worked to stabilize the 44-year-old rider, who was unable to move following the incident.

Murphy was airlifted from Prairie Meadows by a Mercy Medical Center helicopter and admitted to ICU at Iowa Methodist Medical Center late Thursday evening.

"She regained a lot of feeling that she didn't have right after the injury," Travis Murphy said Friday morning. "Although it's not coming around super fast, she can move her fingers and toes, so she has a minimal range of motion."

Murphy said doctors plan to transfer the jockey out of ICU later Friday afternoon. She will remain hospitalized at Methodist Medical Center to begin rehabilitation.

"There's really no clue if or when she'll be back," her husband said. "With this kind of injury, recovery time could be a day or it could be a year."

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