Somewhat lost in the shadow of Paddy Young’s injury at Radnor, Kieran Norris and maiden hurdler Make Big Plans clipped heels in the first race, sending Norris to the hospital with occipital condylar fracture. The 2016 champion jockey was released from Paoli Medical Center Saturday night and is resting at his Middleburg home.
“It’s the bottom bone of your skull, above C1, it’s basically what makes your head rotate and tilt,” Norris’ fiancé Madison Meyers said. “It must have just grazed his face, he bit his tongue pretty badly, he said he hit the ground and thought, ‘OK, I’m all right,’ then the next thing was light’s out.”
Meyers met paramedics on the bottom turn where Norris had fallen.
“When I got to him, he had been out cold, he was laying there, his eyes were open,” Meyers said. “They said, ‘Can you talk to him?’ I was standing over him and I just said hey and he said hey back to me, right then, they started questioning him and he started rattling off the answers, it was bizarre, they questioned him the whole way on the ambulance ride, birthday, race, horse name, meet, my name, everything, bam, bam, bam. He knew everything.”
Even random numbers. When they arrived at the hospital, Meyers called her mother and asked if she could cancel Norris’ flight to High Hope the next day.
“I said to Kieran, ‘You don't happen to know your confirmation number do you?’ Next thing, he rattles off this number. I said, ‘Mom, I can’t promise what this number is but he just told me he knew his confirmation number,’ ” Meyers said. “She called me back and said, ‘You won’t believe this but that was the right number.’ ”
Crowned champion for the first time last year, Norris was enjoying a solid spring, winning eight races from 34 mounts to lead the standings. The Irish native will be out indefinitely.
“We don’t really know yet, they basically said it needs to be reexamined every two weeks until it’s healed, it did not break off and it did not break off into multiple pieces which is really important, it’s just a crack and a concussion,” Meyers said. “He’s supposed to stay in a neck brace until it’s healed. He had a rough couple of days but he’s made a big leap in the last 24 hours.”
Norris and Meyers were already at the hospital when Young arrived.
“Kieran was pissed off for missing the season and then he just said, ‘Oh my God, that puts things into perspective,’ ” Meyers said. “Then he said he wasn’t leaving until he watched the Preakness and until he had seen Paddy, so they wheeled him up there to see Paddy.”
Meyers checked in after Norris’ most recent trip to the doctor’s office Tuesday.
“They said he was very lucky, to get another CT scan and come back in four weeks,” Meyers said. “All neurological testing and strength testing is normal and brain CT is perfect.”
And that is good news.
Read about Kieran Norris' championship season in 2016