Jockey Chris Symons is taking an indefinite break from race riding as he attempts to overcome injuries suffered in a fall at Bendigo in 2015.
Neck fractures, a fractured scapula and head trauma kept Symons from the saddle for five months that year, but five years later, Symons is still feeling the effects.
It was through the COVID-19 pandemic that Symons realised all was not well as he attempted to push on through the pain associated with his injuries.
Not only did Symons have race-riding duties, he was associated with Channel 7 during the spring and autumn carnivals in Melbourne, a role in the movie Ride Like A Girl along with developing ‘Funky Farm’ that houses 200 animals.
Symons said people had noticed changes in the jockey which he put down to his hectic schedule.
“It wasn’t until COVID hit and things slowed down, that’s when it put into perspective the effects of the head injury,” Symons told RSN.
“I didn’t have all those commitments with Channel 7, the movie, the farm and riding.
“Everything slowed down, like it did for everyone, and it gave us the time to reflect what was going on in our own lives and that’s when I really noticed a difference.”
Symons has not ridden a horse since December and only last week underwent an operation to have some nerve endings burnt in his spine.
He said he was not in an earlier position to make the call to take an extended break from riding because of financial commitments.
“If I had made this decision three or four years ago, I potentially would have lost it (Funky Farm) from a financial point of view, so I had to put up with the pain and soldier on through it,” Symons said.