STEVENS’ REHAB PLANS HEATING UP
By JIM WELLS
When he arrived home in Phoenix at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the temperature was 115.
But it’s a dry heat, so…
“I actually haven’t even broken a sweat,” Scott Stevens said Wednesday.
But he plans on working up a good sweat soon, once he begins working himself back into riding condition. Stevens was injured in a spill on July 2 at Canterbury Park and was airlifted by helicopter to the hospital.
Stevens’ goal is to be ready to ride when the Turf Paradise meet begins on Oct. 1, but he seems prepared to accept a later date if necessary.
“That’s my goal, Oct. 1,” he said, “but I don’t know if I will.”
Stevens has another medical appointment on Sept. 9. He’s feeling stronger by the day, he said, but still experiences soreness throughout his body from the July 2 accident, in which he suffered broken ribs and punctured lungs among other infirmities.
He still has numbness in some of his fingers. He had a test done recently that indicated there was no damage above the elbows. “There is a nerve at the elbow that might have been damaged,” he said. “Doctors think six to eight weeks and that should be OK again.”
The pinky and ring ringers on both hands are affected mostly.
“The pinky is completely numb but I can bend it,” Stevens said. “The fingers on the left hand are getting better, there’s more feeling every day. That gives me hope for the right hand.”
Doctors theorized that his elbows might have made jolting contact with his knees as he lurched forward during the accident.
Stevens plans to begin working himself back into riding condition soon.
Some time ago, he constructed an exercise horse at his house, patterned after the Equisizer, which simulates riding and helps work muscles used in riding.
“I time myself on it,” he said. “I put my jock’s saddle on it and its head goes up and down. It’s actually harder than riding a race. There’s nothing pulling against you and you get a good workout. I’ve gotten back into shape on this thing after injures many times…too many times.”
Other riders at Turf Paradise have stopped by from time to time in the last few years to borrow the exercise horse while they were rehabbing from injuries.
The horse has done enough for Stevens over the years that he’s even given it a name.
Its head bobs up and down during use, so…..
The horse’s name is Bob.
LEGGETT CONTINUES RECOVERY
During the return trip to Phoenix, Stevens stopped to visit Tad Leggett, 45, a four-time quarter horse riding champion at Canterbury Park and the all-time money winner.
Leggett was injured severely in a spill at Fair Meadows at Tulsa on June 30. He underwent a nine-hour spinal surgery on July 2 and has been recovering since. He is still unable to walk or function normally with his hands and arms and is undergoing therapy at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo., the renown center for treating people with spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.
Leggett is wheelchair bound but has made significant strides since he was admitted. “He’s able to stick his arms up and wiggle his fingers,” Stevens said. “But he doesn’t have a grip.”
The most encouraging element is Leggett’s attitude. “He’s very positive,” Stevens said. “They ordered him a high-dollar wheelchair and he told them that he hoped they could take it back because he’s planning on walking out of the place.”
Leggett wasn’t breathing on his own and had no movement from the shoulders down when he first arrived at the Craig center.
“They didn’t think when he left Tulsa that he’d ever breathe on his own or move his arms and he’s doing both,” Stevens added.