Star jockey Jamie Kah has detailed publicly for the first time the extent and ongoing effects of her severe concussion and brain bleed sustained in a shocking fall in March.
Kah, in a confronting prelude to evidence at the Victorian Racing Tribunal on Monday in relation to a white power scandal, said “to this day” she has to search a horse’s name to remember it.
Kah also has limited memory of the rehabilitation.
“I got told there was a rating from three to 15, (I was) the highest, they were quite shocked I was functioning, probably so well,” Kah told the tribunal.
“I don’t remember a lot, I know I did a lot of walking and swimming at home, to get function back, and I know I had to do a lot of (nuerological) tests after that.
“I had still quite good memory from years’ ago, but I couldn’t remember current things, horses’ names … to this day I have to search the horse’s name to remember it.”
Kah was told she stopped breathing for a period of time on the racetrack after her fall on March 11 at Flemington.
She spent 28 days at the Royal Melbourne and Epworth hospitals, including the first six in an induced coma.
Head trauma aside, Kah was told she also had broken her ankle, nose and wrist.
“I remember my wrist being broken for a long time after that,” Kah told the hearing.
Kah said the ongoing effects of the concussion included a lower threshold for alcohol.
“I found out pretty quickly the very strong effects and it took me a long time, obviously, I had a few glasses of wine and I was not OK and I had to stop drinking for a while,” Kah said.
Kah said gathering at her house on June 17/18, where the incriminating powder images and video were taken, was the first time post injury she had “maybe five drinks”.
Kah was cleared to ride track work days in late June, after the successful completion of a neurological and balance test.
“They didn’t say I passed with flying colours or anything like that, (but) I passed adequately enough to ride track work,” Kah told the tribunal.
She was cleared to race ride in mid-August after another neurological examination.
Asked by her barrister Matthew Stirling if she returned too soon, Kah said: “I know I felt safe on a horse, for sure, and I got passed to be safe on a horse, I wasn’t 100 per cent with my memory.”
Earlier, Kah was asked about her years’ of ambassadorial work for Victorian and South Australian racing jurisdictions, as well as her passion for rehoming racehorses.
Kah has self-funded the rehoming and retraining of 35 racehorses of equestrian pursuits.