Jockey Cameron Lammas broke his leg so badly in a race accident that doctors thought they would have to amputate it.
But while everyone around him was left feeling queasy, his only thought was to get a photo of it.
"I'm a bit gruesome like that," he said as he recovered yesterday in Hawke's Bay Hospital in Hastings.
Lammas, 28, of Rotorua, broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg when he was flung from a horse in the starting gates at Wairoa on Valentines Day.
Racecourse staff who went to his aid could see bone poking out of his skin. He was conscious and in a lot of pain during the whole ordeal.
Doctors considered amputating his leg, but managed to straighten the bones in two surgeries.
"It's not very good when you're looking at your foot and it's touching your knee cap," he said yesterday. But that did not stop him taking before and after shots on his phone.
It was the worst accident he had had in his 12 years on the track.
"It [the horse] just reared up in the gates and biffed me back. It's just one of those freak accidents, nine times out of 10 I come out of [the gates] with no scratches."
It was his second eventful Valentines Day. Last year partner Tracey Parnwell had to resuscitate him after his heart stopped when a horse kicked him in the chest.
"I fainted and turned blue so she decided she'd better do CPR.
"It's good excuse to get out of it. Next Valentines Day I might go pig hunting instead."
Ms Parnwell suggested he ought to stay at home, out of harm's way. "I'm not looking forward to next year."
It was fortunate the latest break was "just a leg" and not his neck, she said, although he still faced a long, slow recovery.
"We're really disappointed because he was just getting his career back on line and now he's had this setback."
Lammas has ridden more than 500 winners, and has competed all around the world, including in the Melbourne Cup.
Doctors have told him he should be up and about within six months. He has got his fingers crossed he will be back in the saddle by then. He has planned to do a 200-kilometre horse trek in Mongolia to raise money for the Child Cancer Foundation.
- The Dominion Post
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