Chance Rollins Back Home After Recovery

By Claire Novak
Jockey Chance Rollins, critically injured in a recent racing spill, was released from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in California on June 27 and returned to his home in suburban Pleasanton, where he continues to make significant progress in his recovery from a serious head injury.

Rollins stopped breathing after he was thrown from his mount, 5-year-old Dr. Ramos, in the third race at Bay Meadows on June 11. He was resuscitated by track physician Dr. David Seftel and transported to Stanford hospital, where he spent over 48 hours in a medically induced coma in the intensive care unit.

"Chance continues to make a historic recovery, definitely one for the record books," Dr. Seftel said of the jockey, who was on his feet three days after the injury. "He's a remarkable case study in the value of immediate response teams, and it's our fervent wish that his example will be the inspiration to encourage the placement of trained physicians and paramedics at race tracks across the country."

Besides head injuries, according to Seftel, Rollins fractured a right toe and underwent surgery June 22 to place two pins through the bone. He is expected to spend 3-6 weeks in a protective boot, and will not ride until the toe has completely healed.

"Since jockeys essentially ride on the tips of their toes, that injury is a very important one to fix," said Seftel.

In terms of mental condition, Rollins is progressing so well that his doctors will only require a few additional sessions of outpatient speech and occupational therapy to deal with short-term memory loss before he is discharged from the brain trauma unit altogether.

"He's very keen to get on a horse again," Seftel said. "Precluding any unforeseen circumstances or setbacks, we could realistically see him riding within six to eight weeks."

"He's home and he's doing real well," said Paige Schvaneveldt, Rollins' wife. "The doctors can't believe how quickly he has recovered. He would ride tomorrow if he could... (and) if he decides he wants to ride again, I'll back him 100 percent."

Rollins won 2,164 races in his 17-year career as a jockey.