Eibar Coa

Eibar Coa

Anne M. Eberhardt

Coa Shows Improvement; More Surgery Planned

Jockey in good spirits and moving arms and shoulders following vertebrae operation.

Jockey Eibar Coa was reported to be in good spirits and showing slight improvement overnight after undergoing surgery Feb. 19 on his C4 vertebrae, which was broken in a spill following the finish of the sixth race the preceding day.

According to Gulfstream Park, family spokesperson Tito Fuentes, Coa’s agent, said the jockey came out of the morning surgery well and has some movement in his arms and shoulders. Coa has feeling throughout his body but no movement in his legs, Fuentes said on the morning of Feb. 20.

“As of now, he can move his arms and he can feel everything,” Fuentes said in a press release. “He just can’t move everything, but that isn’t to say that won’t change.”

Fuentes said Coa is scheduled to undergo a second operation early this week at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.

“Eibar’s spirits are very good and he’s been getting a lot of visitors,” Fuentes said. “The fact he can move his arms and feel everything is a very good thing.”

Meanwhile, leading jockey Paco Lopez, who sustained a left elbow injury in the same spill, visited Gulfstream Feb. 19 and presented the trophy after the the Sabin Stakes (gr. III). Lopez, who had his left arm in a sling, said he was a “little sore” but feeling well, according to the track.

Agent Cory Moran said Lopez suffered a “little chip” in his elbow. While doctors don’t believe Lopez will need surgery, Moran said the jockey will see a specialist Feb. 21 to evaluate the elbow and determine when Lopez can return to riding.