The father of Tamworth apprentice jockey Melanie Bolwell has said his daughter is making good progress in hospital on the Gold Coast.
Jason Bolwell told Sky Sports Radio despite good signs of progress it remains a long road ahead for Melanie, 22, in her recovery following that horror fall at Warialda on April 8.
“Mel’s had the ventilator taken off and has spoken words with us, but she’s obviously still very weak,” Jason said.
“She is still listed as stable, but critical. The next couple of days they’ve proposed, depending on her mental state, to move her to a ward.
Jason added Melanie reached a milestone when she was able to speak with her family and friends.
“Mel is speaking some words you can understand, she is opening her eyes and at the moment we’ve her brother and sister up here,” he said.
“She is able to point and acknowledge people she recognises.
“It’s going anywhere up to another month up here before she can go to rehabilitation.
“But it is a day by day proposition, you can’t put a timeline on it.”
Jason said Melanie had undergone surgery on a broken leg, but in good news will not have to have surgery on two fractures in the vertebrae of her neck.
“She was in a neck brace the whole time in sedation, although that’s now been removed and they’ve taken her off the spinal bed,” he said.
“They do believe the neck injury will heal itself.
“She had a fracture in her fibula and a plate has been inserted in her calf.
“Other than that, beside being bruised and disorientated, she’s progressing well.”
Jason thanked the support his family had received.
“Melanie comes from Wollondilly and she’s got a strong following there,” he said.
“We’ve had massive support from there, from family, friends, Racing NSW, the AJA with Des O’Keeffe has been fantastic.
“Drive into the main street of Picton and everyone is 100 per cent behind her and it is the same with the people of Tamworth.”
Asked if he would back Melanie if she wanted to make a return to the saddle, Jason was unwavering.
“I’m 100 per cent behind whatever decision she makes, if she wants to ride again, our family is 100 per cent behind her,” he said.
“She loves the sport, has ridden since she was eight and has chosen a career, and is passionate about it.
“Melanie upped all her gear and moved to Tamworth when she was offered an opportunity with Sue (Grills).
“The stable has been fabulous to her, she couldn’t have gone to a better stable.”