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All stories of recovery

Day One was by our side during the early days after my fall

Olympic event rider Nicola Wilson suffered multiple spinal fractures.
DOTS Nicola Wilson web small

Olympic event rider Nicola Wilson was having ‘the most wonderful ride’ when she fell from her horse at Badminton Horse Trials in May 2022.

Nicola suffered multiple spinal fractures, and a condition called Central Core Syndrome that resulted in the loss of sensation and movement in her arms and legs.

Nicola spent four months in hospital building up the strength to return home.

While at the spinal rehabilitation unit at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, Nicola met Day One caseworker Michaela.

Michaela provided much-needed emotional support and practical advice, while a small grant from Day One meant her husband Alastair could be by her side without worrying about the added financial burden of traveling and parking.

The support my family and I received from Day One was brilliant.

Nicola said: "It was amazing to get that support in the early days. When you’re in that situation and you don’t know where to turn or go, you need someone impartial who can explain things and guide you.

“Michaela was a friendly face during what can be a very lonely time on the ward. She was a much-needed listening ear and helped give us hope for the future.”

Nicola was an international event rider and part of the Team GB squad. She’s an Olympic silver medallist and held the European individual and Team Gold titles.

She was competing at Badminton Horse Trials, in South Gloucestershire, on 7 May 2022 when she fell from her horse JL Dublin. Nicola was originally treated at the Major Trauma Centre (MTC) at Southmead Hospital, Bristol, before being transferred to the MTC at James Cook, closer to Nicola’s home in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

Nicola added: “I remember having the most wonderful ride. I remember the start of the jumps, but don’t remember falling. It left me with no feeling of my upper body. I couldn’t move my arms and shoulders. I couldn’t feel anything for a month. When I fell I knew that I would be retiring from the sport.

“As an Olympian, I’m used to hard work and training, but nothing prepared me for the recovery journey I had to make after my fall. I had to learn simple tasks again. Like cleaning my teeth and bringing a mug to my lips to take a drink. The first time you achieve something is momentous and exciting as you slowly progress on your own journey to recovery.

“I feel so lucky to have had a wonderful career and ridden so many horses at the top level. Thanks to the support I’ve received from so many people, including those at Day One, I continue to make great progress and am positive about the next phase in my life - coaching and mentoring in the sport I love.”

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