By Martin Cleary
Equestrian show jumper Jonathon Millar, who was injured in a non-competitive accident last month in West Palm Beach, Florida, was transferred by air ambulance last week to Atlanta’s Shepherd Centre, which is one of the top-10 rehabilitation facilities in the United States.
The centre will develop “a specialized rehab program designed to give him the best opportunity at a full recovery,” said a Millar Brooke South Facebook message.
Millar, who is the son of 10-time show jumping Olympian Ian Millar, is expected to be at the Shepherd Centre for 60 days. In the second half of his rehab program, therapists hope to have a better idea of a recovery time frame.
The Shepherd Centre is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in the treatment of spinal cord and brain injuries, spine and chronic pain and other neuromuscular conditions.
In a Facebook posting one week ago, Millar Brooke South said Millar was “making improvements every day, communicating with facial expressions, hand signals and starting to speak some words.”
His early physical therapy has been encouraging on both sides of his body.
Insurance will cover the first 30 days of his stay at the Shepherd Centre. A Jonathon Millar Recovery Fund has been created and more than $266,000 has been raised. The goal is $350,000. The Ziegler Family, The Kevin Babbington Foundation and Equestrian Aid Foundation have also helped with the mounting costs.
“Without this support and kindness of everyone, we are not sure how we would be able to get this opportunity for Jonathon,” the Facebook message added.
“We are beyond grateful for Jonathon’s progress so far and could not thank the incredible teams of doctors and healthcare workers at St. Mary’s enough for all of the incredible care they have given him.”
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the High Achievers “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.
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