Injured Ritchings vows to ride on
5:30am Tuesday 29th April 2014 in Exclusive By Andy Warren, Deputy sports editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, @AndyWarren_
DARRYL Ritchings has revealed he plans to resume his speedway career once he has fully recovered from the horror crash which left him in a coma for close to two weeks.
The Purton youngster collided with Coventry reserve Jason Garrity during his Robins home debut against the Bees on April 3, hitting the Abbey Stadium fence before the start of the air bag to leave him with a broken ankle and bruising to his brain.
Ritchings was transferred to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where he spent 12 days under sedation before being woken on April 15, but, following a miraculous recovery, he is now at home with his family on the outskirts of Swindon.
Speaking for the first time since the incident the 19-year-old is now cautiously contemplating getting back on the bike once he has completed his recovery, but will certainly not return this season due to the head injuries he suffered during the crash.
“To be honest I think when I get back going down to the workshop every day and things like that I will really start to miss it,” he told the Advertiser.
“I know I have to have the rest of this year off because I’m not allowed to ride a bike or have driving lessons or anything but, being completely honest, I probably will come back to speedway and race again.
“It’s hard to say yes or no for sure at the moment but when I am walking again I really hope I will be back.
“I can’t ride this season and that’s sensible because of the head and brain injuries I’ve suffered but if it was only my ankle I would probably be back on the bike as soon as I could walk.
“It’s almost a good thing I broke my ankle because if I hadn’t I would probably have been trying to run before I could walk and I think this slowed me down a little, which is probably a good thing.
“All me and my brothers have done is ride bikes, it’s been our lives, and if I didn’t do it again it would be like losing a leg.
“I think my family will all be around me and I’m sure they will all support me if I decide I want to ride again.”
His stay in Alun Rossiter’s side may have been agonisingly brief, especially considering he has dedicated most of his life to riding for his hometown club, but Ritchings remains proud of all he has achieved and is hopeful there are still plenty of chapters left to write in his career.
“It was such a big build-up with all the pre-season stuff and all the press, but to think I only completed one meeting and then just over a lap on my home debut is pretty sad,” he said.
“But I rode for Swindon which was a real honour although it’s a shame it ended the way it did. Hopefully it’s not the end though as I am hopeful of riding again.”
Although he won’t be back on the bike for a little while yet, Ritchings is hoping to make his Blunsdon return on Thursday evening to watch the Robins take on Birmingham.
“Hopefully, if I feel alright, I will be up there on Thursday night but I will have to wait and see how I feel in the morning,” he said.
“I’ve been going out for little drives with my brother just to get me out of the house and we’ve been up past the Abbey Stadium and it’s felt a bit strange. It’s hard to take it all in.”