Former Jockey publishes memoir recounting his life and recovery from a fall which left him with a life-threatening brain injury

Declan Murphy was considered one of the most brilliant jockeys of his time, and in May 1994 was coming to the end of the most successful season of his career with 60 winners under his belt, when he suffered a fall at the final hurdle of a race at Haydock Park. A group of jockeys and horses racing Talking to Libby Purves on the last ever airing of Radio 4’s Midweek, Murphy recounted how he was struck by another horse’s hoof as he fell, which left his skull shattered in twelve places. His injuries were so severe it was believed that he would not survive: the last rites were read and The Racing Post published his obituary.  First at the scene of the accident were paramedics who had only recently been introduced on all British racecourses, and from the course he was transferred to the neurological unit of Walton Hospital in Liverpool, the North-west's specialist centre for head injuries. A blood clot was removed from his brain and he remained in a coma for 2 weeks. However, just 18 months later he was able to return to the saddle to ride his final race winner at Chepstow, before then retiring.  In his memoir, Centaur – a collaboration with author Ami Rao, Murphy tells the story of his childhood in Ireland, his life as a jockey and then the 18 months of recovery and rehabilitation after the fall that enabled him to return to competitive racing. You can listen to Declan Murphy talking to Libby Purves on Radio 4 Midweek on BBC IPlayer here (  The publication date for Centaur by Declan Murphy with Ami Rao is 27th April 2017.
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