AP McCoy fights back tears as he gives an emotional update on Graham Lee who suffered a spinal injury in accident at Newcastle… as the legendary jockey is comforted as he talks about his friend’s ‘long road’ to recovery
by: Hani Kamal El-Din
AP McCoy had to fight back the tears as he gave an emotional update on his friend Graham Lee, who suffered a spinal injury in a horror fall at Newcastle earlier this month.
Lee, the only jockey to win the Grand National and Ascot Gold Cup, was unseated from his horse as the stalls opened for a sprint handicap on November 10.
The 47-year-old suffered an unstable cervical fracture causing damage to his spinal cord and has undergone two procedures to stabilise the fractures and further protect his spinal cord.
Legendary jockey McCoy was working for ITV Racing at Cheltenham on Saturday, and was visibly trying to hold back the tears as he spoke about Lee, while he was comforted by presenter Ed Chamberlin.
With his voice already beginning to break down, he said: ‘It’s been the most horrendous week.
Legendary jockey AP McCoy fought back the tears as he gave an update on friend Graham Lee
Ruby Walsh (left) stepped in for McCoy after noticing he was visibly distressed, with the legendary jockey briefly turning away as he tried to regain composure
Lee (pictured) suffered an unstable cervical fracture causing damage to his spinal cord and has undergone two procedures to stabilise the fractures and further protect his spinal cord
‘One little positive thing would be that Ritchie McGrath and his wife Becky FaceTimed me with Graham last night… but when I say the most horrendous week I really mean that.’
Noticing McCoy’s distress, Ruby Walsh stepped in with a comment as Chamberlin could be seen reaching out to comfort the 49-year-old.
McCoy continued: ‘He had an operation to stabilise his fractures on Wednesday. There is a lot of swelling and bruising around the spinal chord – it’s going to be a long road, you know.
‘It is a long road and it’ll be a long road for Becky and the family. We never know in the world where things can go, and what medicine is bringing us.
‘With a bit of luck God can be good, and I think everyone would like him to be good right now.’
Fans reacted with sympathy for McCoy, but also praised Walsh for stepping in when he noticed his co-pundit’s distress.
One person tweeted: ‘Pure class from Ruby Walsh. Can see AP is struggling and steps in so he can take a moment. My thoughts are with Graham Lee, his family & his friends.
Nick Metcalfe commented: ‘Very touching to see the support offered by Ed Chamberlin to Sir AP McCoy here, not to mention Ruby Walsh stepping in when he could see how much his friend was struggling. One of the true greats of sport for me, AP. I’ve always considered it a privilege to speak to him.’
McCoy eventually continued speaking but was still emotional as he spoke about Lee’s ‘long road’ to recovery
ITV Racing presenter Ed Chamberlin reached out to comfort McCoy during his update on Lee
A JustGiving page set up by Lee’s daughter, Amy, has already raised £120,000 along with messages of goodwill
While another person wrote: ‘I think I speak for the whole racing community when I say we feel AP McCoy’s emotions, and we stand with him, Graham and Graham’s family, during this difficult time. Wishing nothing but the best.’
The Sun reported that McCoy made a ‘3am dash’ to get Lee’s daughter to his bedside as he was in intensive care at Newcastle Royal Infirmary.
Meanwhile, over £140,000 has been raised thanks to a JustGiving fundraiser put together by Lee’s daughter Amy, as well as the Injured Jockeys Fund.
On Friday, the Injured Jockeys Fund said that Lee has made ‘positive progress’ following his operations.
A statement from the Injured Jockeys’ Fund said: ‘Graham has made positive progress in the last 24 hours and has been able to talk normally with his family for short periods when his ventilator is turned down.
‘He has been reviewed by his Spinal Consultant and when a bed becomes available in the ITU at James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough, he will be transferred closer to home.
‘Graham and his family want to thank everyone for their continued and overwhelming support.’