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Here’s how long a non-jockey would have to live to sustain the same number of injuries as Ruby Walsh

by Aidan Elder | March 4, 2015

Jockeys are a different breed. Not literally like different breed like leprechauns or people who still use MySpace, but they’ve got something about them that most people just don’t. While most of us seem to contemplate a trip to A+E for a papercut, these men and women sustain substantial injuries on a regular basis and come back for more.

Ruby’s Cheltenham Festival 2014 ended earlier than anticipated when Abbyssial’s fall in the Triumph Hurdle on Friday caused him to tear a rotator cuff that required reconstruction and a long rehabilitation. But in classic ‘iron man jockey’ style, Ruby returned early in the new jumps season after the latest injury on a long list dating back to the early days of his professional career.

But how does it compare to your average, non-riding fast horses over fences, Joe? Based on a combination of Ruby’s medical history and data which suggests on average, members of the general public break 0.4 bones in a lifetime we estimate:

  • He has had 15 serious breaks or fractures in the course of his career
  • It would take a normal, non-sportsperson  38.5 lifetimes to accrue that number of fractures
  • That means you’d have to live to about the age of 2,763

To put it into a historic context, you’d have had to have been born around the middle of the 8th Century B.C. to have suffered the same number of breaks and fractures as Ruby.

Forget chilling out with Jesus, you’re the best part of a millenium too early for that. It would mean you would have been born around the time Romulus and Remus founded Rome, King Midas realised ‘pro – my penis is now gold; con – I can no longer enjoy some ‘me’ time’ and the prophet Hosea was warning people about the impending end of the world. Let hope our Cheltenham betting is a little more accurate.

Plus that’s a conservative figure because surely after lifetime number 30 and fracture number 10, you might think about wrapping yourself in some cotton wool for the next few centuries to see the scientific and cultural heights civilisation reaches. Plus, there’s always the incentive to keep living that is hearing the new Jedward album.


Ruby Walsh infographic 2014

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