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This article was published 3/7/2015 (2137 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Injured jockey Alyssa Selman was still unable to move anything from the waist down on Thursday at Health Sciences Centre, but her sense of humor was improving fast and there was just a hint of sparkle in her eyes.
The 29-year-old mother of two from St. Lupicin, which is southwest of Winnipeg near Carman, was seriously injured and rushed to hospital last Saturday after the horse she was riding, Lord Jasmond, clipped heels and fell heavily to the ground in the sixth race at Assiniboia Downs.
"I actually remember very little about it," said Selman. "I don’t even remember getting on the horse or anything like that. All I remember is the hospital. Someone tried to show me a video but I immediately forgot that too. I don’t want to see it."
The swelling in her face and neck has now subsided, but Selman said she is still in quite a bit of pain.
"I hurt my foot last year, but it was nothing like this," said Selman, who rated her current condition as 8/10 on the pain scale. "My whole body starts to ache quite a bit, even parts that you’re sure you can’t feel."
Selman brightened up on the subject of eating, and said she appreciated being able to eat solid food again.
"I eat little bits here and there," she said. "My jockey diet is all solid food. Everything I see I eat. My sister brought me Fruit-By-The-Foot, a candyish thing that you pack in school lunches. It’s one of my favourite snacks. And she made me fruit dip and pineapple. Those were delicious."
Selman’s mood also warmed as she talked about Lord Jasmond, the horse she was riding during the accident. She had been exercising "Jack" every morning before the accident.
"We’re kindred spirits," said Selman. "Very sweet animal. Pretty good guy. Rode him in every start. He’s very loveable. He loves kids… so careful not to nip anybody. They’ve (her children Ari, 4, and Amar, 7) been back to see him a lot. I let them feed him because he’s gentle."
Her voice is a lot stronger than it was," said her mother, Carla. "But the neurosurgeon told me the chances of her walking again are very slim. But sometimes they’re wrong. My plan is to help her is much as I can and my job has given me some time right now."
Surrounded by friends and family that included Carla, Carol, her aunt, Brian, her father, and Cheryl, her grandma, Selman was attended to by the physiotherapist during the interview, and was asked if she felt strong enough to sit up a little bit. Later in the afternoon she was raised up slightly and her legs were moved to keep the circulation moving.
Selman didn’t want to think about her rehabilitation.
"We’re not really there yet," she said. "I’m not ready to talk about it. I’m just ready to go day by day right now."
Selman’s spirits brightened again when able to talk about life in her small two-storey home on an acreage in St. Lupicin, which she shares with husband Rumesh, who has been by her side the whole time, along with daughter Ari and son Amar, cats Mr. Kitty and Gus Gus and Doberman Gwen.
"She’s not one for self pity," said Carla. "Not one to feel sorry for herself. The doctors have been fabulous. We’ll wait and see. She’ll be here for a little while. Then they’ll move her to the rehab hospital and work with her there. No real timeline. Everybody heals at a different rate."
"The outpouring of support for Alyssa has been overwhelming," said horse owner Lori Mann (not the owner of Lord Jasmond), who is helping organize fundraising for the family. "I opened up my email this morning and have donations from all over the world, even from other tracks. Everything from cash donations to silent auction prizes for the fundraiser. People I don’t even know are contacting me. They know my boyfriend is a trainer and we own race horses at Assiniboia Downs and say, ‘Did you see the accident at the Downs? Did you know her… we want to help.’ "
A fundraiser will take place July 19 on the main floor at Assiniboia Downs from 7 p.m. until midnight. Tickets are $15. There has also been a trust fund set up with the Horseman’s Bookkeeper at the Downs and both cash donations and silent auction prizes can be dropped off at the general office at the track.
Mann has also organized trust accounts in favour of Selman at TD Bank, the Assiniboine Credit Union and the Access Credit Union, which cover Selman’s home area. All trusts are the same, in that individuals or organizations may deposit funds in any branch of these institutions to the credit of the Alyssa Selman Trust.
As the interview closed, Selman turned the atmosphere in the room into a smile, as she spoke again of her favourite Fruit-By-The-Foot.
"I expect a Rubbermaid full of them."