By Duane Ranger
Exactly 15 weeks after he suffered a race-fall in an accident at Redcliffe Paceway, Logan Village horseman Doug Lee is still no wiser as to when he will be back in the sulky.
The tough 63-year-old has been watching his team run around from the grandstand since he was thrown to the ground behind Blue Shard – after the horse inside him galloped violently one gate out towards him.
“I held the rein and was dragged along for about 20 to 30 metres. An older horseman once told me that if you hold the reins in these situations the horse will veer wide out of trouble. That’s where I suffered my injuries.
“After all this time I finally got a hospital booking for an MRI scan on Saturday - and the doctor is now 90 per cent certain I will need an operation on my shoulder. He thinks I might have torn my rotator cuff, which connects the muscle to the bone and tendons around the shoulder joint.
“I also broke my right hand, and they just gave me the clearance for that. But I’m in limbo for now and just waiting to see what the specialist finally recommends,” Lee said.
“If I do have the operation he said I’d probably be in a cast for four to six weeks. Ouch!” Lee added. Not “ouch” as in pain, but “ouch” as Lee hates being a spectator.
“I hate watching. I so much want to be out there. I know and love my horses so well and I’m not getting at my replacement drivers, they have been great, but I do things a bit different.
“I am old school you might say and tend to sit and wait. Lola (Weidemann) is the same. Lola is my style of driver and has done a great job with Justabitnoisy.
“She’s had two starts behind him for two placings now. Lola likes the horse so much she said she would travel the three-plus hours to drive him, even if she didn’t have any other drives,” Lee said.
Lee wanted to thank his fellow horsemen and women for helping him in his time of need.
“I’ve had tremendous help from Chris Geary, Jack Butler, and Grant and Trista Dixon, who have also offered their help. There have also been others who have gone out of their way for me – and I’m extremely grateful for that.
Lee said he wished he could just hurry the process up.
“I’ve got a team of nine and can’t wait to get back driving them again. I thought I just had a sore hand and didn’t think there was too much wrong with my shoulder until they looked at it."
“They originally thought I may have broken my humerus bone, and but after three or four weeks the injury wasn’t getting any better and I went back to the doctors.
“They then said I had to wait six to eight weeks for it to heal. Then after 12 weeks I finally got my MRI scan. It’s been trying to say the least,” Lee said.
“I’ve just got to be patient,” he added.
But Lee is no stranger to pain and harness racing accidents.
“I’ve been out for 18 months with a back injury and back operation, and 40-odd years ago I broke my scaphoid, but generally I’ve been okay over a long period of time."
You can blame my grandfather. He gave me the racing bug more than half a century ago. I was born in Blacktown (NSW) and have been in Queensland eight years now.
“We made the move because it was just too far to travel to Menangle and back from where we were living at the time. In total it was about an eight-hour return trip,” Lee said.