A FEMALE jockey who needed life-saving surgery and was put in a week-long coma after a horrific fall has defied doctors to ride again.
Shanae O'Meara, 21, was lucky to be alive following a terrifying incident when she was unseated from a horse two years ago.
The promising jockey was airlifted to hospital where she was put in an induced coma with devastating injuries.
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A heartbreaking image showed her lying in a bed in intensive care surrounded by wires and tubes.
Doctors feared she had suffered irreparable cognitive damage and O'Meara was at first unable to communicate.
Her family were told she would never be able to ride again, just as her career as a promising jockey was set to take off.
During three months of rehab she had to battle post-traumatic amnesia and could not talk.
There were grave worries she could not even lead a normal life ever again and a GoFundMe page set up to help her family cover her medical bills raised more than £11,000 in one week.
But now, 19 months on, she is signed up as an apprentice with top Australian trainer Austy Coffey and ready to hit the big time.
O'Meara, who is from Victoria, told racing.com: "My neurosurgeon kept warning me that I wouldn't ride again.
A post shared by Shanae O'Meara (@shanae.omeara)
"In the early days there were concerns that I wouldn't be able to return to normal living.
"I'd been riding racehorses since I was 12 and before my accident I'd applied to become an apprentice and had completed some testing, so it felt so tough that it had been taken away.
"Now to officially be an apprentice is really a dream come true, I'm still pinching myself.
"All those frustrating months of rehab were really worth it.
"I've had a few friends say, 'you're crazy going back doing what you're doing'.
"But it's all I want to do and I'm thankful every day that I still get my chance."
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