A TOP jockey who made close to £1million on the racecourse has opened up on his terrifying health battle and confessed: "I don't know who I am any more."
Daniel Pitomac, 42, says the head injuries he picked up falling off horses have changed his life.
He says he hardly leaves the house any more but when he doeshe cannot allow his wife, fellow jockey Kath, to go far.
And he even admitted: "If they do go to the toilet, I have pretty much got to be with them."
Australia jockey Pitomac recorded 84 wins in his career but last raced in September 2019.
He opened up on how his life has changed since hanging up the saddle in a three-part special report looking into the effects of concussion on jockeys.
Pitomac said: "I don't do anything any more, these days I just sit at home and watch TV and that is the extent of my life.
"I know that I'm having this conversation with you today. But come tomorrow, I might think this conversation happened a week ago.
"Or in an hour, I might remember that I've talked to you but I won't remember what I've actually said to you.
"I am very worried about my future. I'm tired, always tired.
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"I'm not me any more.
"Jockeys are fairly sociable, there is no real fear in them.
"But these days I am flat out going to the shops.
"I try to stay at home all the time, I'm really insecure around people.
"If I ever go out, it has to be with my wife or my best friend.
"I could handle that, as long as they don't go away from me.
"But if they do go to the toilet, I have pretty much got to be with them."
Describing his worst incident, Pitomac said: "I was in the barriers and the horse just went off, I don't actually remember it all.
"I thought I got off the horse and got away from it, but apparently I was dragged out of the barriers because I had blacked out.
"The ambulance team wanted to take me to hospital but I was so concussed that I was initially refusing to go as I wanted to ride in the next race.
"The thing with concussion is that it's not like if you break your arm – when you have your arm in plaster everyone knows it is broken.
"Concussion is much harder for people to understand.
"I have headaches all the time, memory loss, balance and co-ordination issues.
"Bright lights worry me.
"I have a huge problem with staying asleep, I probably wake up ten times a night.
"We purchased a couple of houses in Wellington, but now I can't do any work on the one we are renovating.
"I can't even mow the lawns, I suppose physically I may be capable but it's just that mentally I can't.
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"I try not to think about the future, my neurologist even said it is possible that I've got CTE.
"Reading up on it, it's not very good, it's pretty much a death sentence."
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