Determined former speedway rider Ricky Ashworth is fighting back to recovery – nearly 18 months after the horror crash which left him severely injured.
The ex-captain of Sheffield Tigers speedway team was in a coma for 90 days after crashing into a barrier at high speed during a race in Scunthorpe.
Moving new video footage of the 31-year-old shows him battling to walk, talk and do everyday tasks independently again, refusing to use a wheelchair or have a stairlift.
Ricky’s dad Dave, who has given up work to become his son’s full-time carer, has to help him get about and doctors have said he will never ride a bike again.
Dave said: “There is a hell of a long way to go.
“Ricky can’t walk on his own. He’s lost all his balance, so he can stand but as soon as he takes one foot off the ground to walk he will fall.
“He uses me as his walking stick and he totally refuses to get in his wheelchair.
“Some people think he needs to, but Ricky is determined not to, which is a good thing in my book and I think he is doing really well.
“He’s improving week by week and the physios are really happy with how he has progressed – a lot of hospital staff can’t believe how far he has come.
“However, he’s got a long way to go and we don’t know how far that will be.”
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Ricky is the first modern-day rider to be left with brain injuries after an accident.
A major fundraising event to launch the speedway season at Sheffield’s Owlerton Stadium in March will aim to raise enough money to build a new ground-floor bedroom with wetroom at his parents’ home in Salford.
It will mean he does not have to struggle up stairs and will give him his own space as he tries to return to as normal a life as possible.
The speedway community in Sheffield is rallying around to support Ricky’s Big Day – as are top riders from across the globe.
In the video, Ricky said he was looking forward to his testimonial and revealed he had recently started playing football games on the PlayStation.
He has also visited the pub for the first time since the accident.
Ricky said “I’m getting there.”
Dave said: “Sheffield was where Ricky cut his teeth really. That’s where he learned to race his bike.
“He loved it in Sheffield and it’s just a shame he can’t ride in his own meeting.”
n Ricky’s Big Day will take place on Sunday, March 22.