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Ricky Ashworth - Update
Tuesday 13th May 2014
by Mike Hunter
One of the most important tasks undertaken by the Speedway Riders' Benevolent Fund in recent years has been to provide support for the Ashworth family while they deal with the aftermath of Ricky's crashes last season.
Now, Ricky's dad Dave and SRBF organiser Paul Ackroyd feel it is time to give his many supporters a more detailed analysis of where the young man is today, the progress he has made, and what might lie ahead.

Ricky is still in hospital receiving rehabilitation which is still a huge task, 91 days asleep is a very long time and it has left its mark. Dave says "It's safe to say that the old Ricky has gone, we now have a new version".

Unfortunately the severity of Ricky's injury has left him with severe ataxia (a group of neurological disorders which affect balance, coordination, and speech).

Ricky also is battling with potentially serious myoclonic spasms in his face, these are painful and dangerous if they happen when Ricky is eating as his throat is constricted and foods can then choke him. This is a big hindrance to progression towards Ricky being discharged as he has to be in hospital near the equipment necessary when eating in case of a choking episode. His consultant is constantly working on this condition trying to find a drug that will calm this problem down.

Paul Ackroyd says "His dad and his family have been by his side every day since his accident. They are continuing to help Ricky bounce back from the low moods by telling him what a miracle he is to everyone and how much support he has from speedway fans from all around the world.

"Ricky is now allowed home visits for a few hours at the weekend, though he has to return for mealtimes. It is great to see how relaxed he is back at home by ordering stepmum Pam around and through the banter which has returned between him and his sister Jade.

"I visited Ricky last Saturday on his home visit and we sat in the garden. He still has a lot of personality and we had a lot of banter. He has maintained the interest he has always had in motorcycles from a technical point of view and was still talking about clutch plates, engine compressions and the technical details of the speedway machine..

"He pointed to his van too, and where it has become a bit rusty. He said 'It wouldn't have got like that if I'd been here all the time!'

"Every time I see him, I see improvement and Ricky does something I haven't seen him do before. Perhaps that isn't so apparent to his family who see him every day.

"I asked him what message he would like to send to his fans, and to my surprise this is the response I received:

"Thanks to all my fans, friends and sponsors especially Ian Hunter from Sheffield Window centre, he's been there from the start. Also John Todd for finding me sponsors.

"I'm still not myself yet, but hopefully I will be soon, I've got the right team behind me. I hope I will be going home soon and hope I will be able to get to a speedway meet as I am missing the banter and smell. I would like to thank everyone who went to my benefit meeting at Berwick, I've watched it about 10 times! Just wish I could have shared a beer with them all especially the 2012 group. Thanks for all the hard work from everyone involved.'"

Ackroyd finished by saying "The family are still totally focussed on giving Ricky the best opportunities possible, and are working closely alongside the Hospital staff over his rehabilitation.

"They are now in a position to plan what will be required when Ricky finally does return home."

The SRBF remain custodians of all the monies which have been raised for Ricky.
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