‘The team at Badminton saved my life’: Nicola Wilson returns home four months after life-changing cross-country fall

European eventing champion Nicola Wilson has returned home after spending more than four months in hospital recovering from injuries sustained in a cross-country fall with JL Dublin at fence 27c at Badminton Horse Trials.

Nicola, 45, suffered a serious neck injury in the fall on 7 May. She has since re-learnt basic life skills such as being able to stand, move her wheelchair, feed herself and brush her teeth ahead of being discharged from the spinal rehabilitation unit at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

In a video shared on her social media on Thursday (15 September), Nicola said: “Today is a really exciting day. Today I’ve been discharged from hospital. After leaving fence 27c at Badminton Horse Trials four and a half months ago, it’s been a long journey but so, so exciting to be back home with Alastair and enjoy a bit of fresh air and a few home comforts.”

At times Nicola was emotional as she thanked those who have been “instrumental” in her recovery to date, saying: “I am so, so grateful to the team at Badminton who saved my life. I am so indebted to you for doing that and putting me in the position where I am now. Having gone from the medical tent at Badminton, where the support and medical attention was outstanding, to Southmead [Hospital in Bristol], where they looked after me equally as well.

“The messages of support, letters, cards, presents, well wishers was just overwhelming for us all. Alastair or Mum [Mary Tweddle], who were with me all the time while at Southmead, would read the letters with tears running out of our eyes – it was so overwhelming and so kind to have that support.

“Having been looked after so beautifully at Southmead, I then moved to the spinal unit at James Cook where for the last few months they have become my family. The care there is outstanding – the physios, the occupational therapists trying to teach me everything that I need to learn, to remember how to do, to get my body to do, has just been fantastic. It’s given me so much confidence. I’m incredibly grateful to them.”

Nicola continued by explaining more about her injury and how her recovery is progressing at the moment.

“My legs are being great,” she said. “They are holding my weight which I am so, so grateful and hopefully they will get better and better. My injury was an incomplete injury to the neck affecting the spinal cord affecting all four limbs.

“My arms have also been getting better, but they are much further behind my legs. I still can’t feel my hands and need my eyes to know whether I’ve got something in my hand or not. I also need my eyes to know where my feet are and where my arms and hands are.

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