Jockey Ramon Dominguez, injured in a spill at Aqueduct Racetrack, discussed his rehabilitation and desire to resume his riding career in a Feb. 14 interview with NYRA television analyst and former jockey Richard Migliore.
Dominguez, 36, suffered a skull fracture in the Jan. 18 accident and spent four nights in intensive care at Jamaica Hospital in Queens before the three-time Eclipse Award winner went to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He was transferred to the latter hospital's medical step-down unit Jan. 26 and later spent approximately a week at the Burke Rehabilitation Center.
It was Dominguez's second skull fracture; the rider having suffered a similar injury in 1998.
"This (fracture) was probably a little more severe," said Dominguez in the interview. "Having said that, I wasn't overly concerned because the doctors, from the get-go, felt like I was going to recover well and they were very happy with my condition even from the beginning. They said I was exceeding their expectations, and I really didn't last too long (at the rehabilitation center)."
Dominguez said being in top physical condition has aided his recovery.
"I feel like the prognosis the first week I was (at the Burke Rehabilitation Center) was excellent," said Dominguez. "The physical therapy couldn't do a whole lot for me, so therefore I need to talk to my doctor again because I feel like I should be at a higher level (of therapy). Maybe a lot of that has to do with being an athlete; your level of fitness is pretty high."
Dominguez added that while there is no timetable for his return, he remains eager to get back to competition.
"When I was at my previous rehab center (the issue of when I might be able to return to riding was) one of the questions I asked a couple of times to the doctors," said Dominguez. "I feel like maybe it was too early for them to tell me I could come back in 'X' amount of time. From then on I just decided to focus on my exercises and my physical therapy and try to get better. I don't (know if) you'd call it selfish or just foolish, but I'm definitely dying to know when I can come back to riding horses."
Throughout it all, Dominguez has maintained his sense of humor.
"I feel physically capable of running a marathon, as I mentioned to one of the therapists," Dominguez said. "And mentally if I'm not sharp, I don't think it's due to the injury; I've probably been this way always. So I feel pretty good, and, God willing, I can come back to riding racehorses in a short amount of time."