IF jockey Jason Hoopert is anything, he's game.
Like his contemporaries, Hoopert cares not for the risk to life and limb he faces every time he throws a leg over a horse whether in trackwork, trials or on raceday.
Yet Hoopert has every reason to second guess himself, to wonder whether he is up to the task any more after some very nasty falls.
He is on the mend from his latest accident, a crash at Mount Isa on May 23 when he suffered multiple injuries.
Hoopert was healing and an early return to riding was on the cards until he noticed persistent pain in his side while riding horses in exercise.
Medicos discovered four broken ribs and the previously undetected damage meant additional time on the sidelines.
Regardless, Hoopert, once apprenticed to Frank Penfold at Caloundra then Rodney Davis in Wondai, has pressed on and is confident of returning to the saddle within a month.
"I have been back riding trackwork about three weeks, the fitness is coming back and it's a case of so far so good," he said.
As bad as it sounds, his May 23 fall pales in comparison alongside a near-death episode at Kilcoy in July, 2006. Riding in a nondescript event, Hoopert's mount was travelling sweetly when it appeared to clip the heels of a runner in front, which had slowed momentarily.
He was tossed to the turf and transported immediately to hospital for intensive care where he woke from an induced coma eight days later with a smashed right arm, punctured lung and multiple bleeds to his brain.
"I was nearly killed that day," he says, matter-of-factly.
"I was on a life support system and they would bring me out of the coma every so often and apparently I would just freak out so they would put me back under. They told me I would never, ever ride again."
Hoopert found his way to Trevor Miller's Sunshine Coast stable a few years later, working among the ground staff at first and then with the work riders.
"I remember going to track one day and saying to Trevor that I could probably get a clearance to ride the pony," Hoopert said.
"I never did ride that pony. I went straight to trackwork but I did have to jump through a lot of hoops."
Hoopert took inspiration from a specialist who suffered a brain injury while skiing but recovered.
"He became a neurosurgeon so he could understand how he recovered and help others. He said if he could become a neurosurgeon after his accident then I could make it back and I've ridden 146 winners since I was told I would never ride again."
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