Kia ora, my name is Richard. I’ve been a professional jumps jockey for 18 years and on 12th of may 2017 my career came to a screaming halt. I received a nasty fall. There is no footage as they had to call the race off. That was hard because it’s apart of my life I don’t remember and for a long time I felt lost. The only reason I knew I was a jockey was the name on my silks.  I was in a bad way.  I would lose my vision from time to time, walking to the letterbox was like running a marathon. Very embarrassing for me as a what I would call an able bodied person couldn’t do simple everyday tasks

Towards the end of October maybe early November I saw these awesome people doing amazing things in the Parisi Boxing Gym and after many sleepless nights I decided to pull up my big boy pants and kick the black dog out the door. I attended a few morning classes, one class turned into three a week then all of a sudden I was turning up everyday. It was the consistency I needed. All my symptoms started to fade, I became more comfortable talking about what had happened to me.

I’m struggling to finish this piece because my journey isn’t done, I’m still a work in progress. I guess I could start by saying, everybody has a story be kind to your neighbour and if you think you have nobody to turn to you’re wrong, talk to someone. Sometimes asking if you are ok is all it takes. I’m thankful for Parisi Boxing Gym and their fantastic staff, even the awesome members are amazing and thank you for helping me make the transition from being a professional athlete to becoming a father, supportive partner a son a brother and a mate.