Hall of Fame Kiwi jockey Jim Cassidy has revealed how close he came to death after being involved in a horror head-on car accident in Australia.
Cassidy, 53, suffered bleeding on the brain and bruising to his body on Saturday after a car allegedly veered onto the wrong side of the road and collided with the retired hoop’s trusted Nissan X-Trail while taking a corner in wet conditions.
The accident occurred not far from Lynwood Country Club in Sydney where Cassidy had that afternoon played golf with former Australian cricketer Doug Bollinger and watched The Autumn Sun’s dramatic win in the Randwick Guineas.
He was on the phone to his wife, Vicki, when the accident happened.
“I thought I was dead,” Cassidy said from his hospital bed. “I don’t know how I got out of it the way I did but I did.
“We were going around a corner. The other bloke came to the corner, I could see him, I was 50 metres away. All of a sudden, he went bang into my windscreen. He lost control on the wet road and just hit me head on. I had nowhere to go. If I went to the left, I would’ve hit a tree.
“The airbag went off. I’ve never seen one go off before. With all the dust, I thought the car was on fire. I was panicking so I was just trying to get out. They found me staggering around on the road.”
Cassidy was rushed by ambulance to hospital but expected to be discharged yesterday (Tuesday).
“I’ve got a sore head and a sore body but I’m blessed,” he said.
“I have a little bit of bleeding on the brain but that’s stopped, according to the neurosurgeons. My head is quite big. My head smashed into the driver’s side window. The right side of my face is so sore. They were giving me morphine but it didn’t seem to work.
“It threw me around the car a lot. I’m just very thankful that I had a seat belt on and the airbag worked. Very, very luck boy.”
One of the sport’s greatest jockeys before retiring in 2015, Cassidy suffered numerous race falls and injuries throughout his illustrious riding career.
“I would rather fall off a horse any day than experience what I just experienced,” Cassidy said.