Sheffield Tigers speedway rider Ricky Ashworth has awoken from a coma – 91 days after a crash which nearly claimed his life.
The 31-year-old, who has been an asset at Owlerton Stadium for more than a decade, hit a wall on the Scunthorpe track in August.
Now his father Dave has revealed he is officially out of the coma – but still in the early stages of a long battle.
He said: “Ricky was mumbling a bit but aware of where he was and to an extent what has happened to him.
“The lad is by no means back to being who we all know, and has not yet regained full strength down the left side of his body.
“But although he cannot yet eat or swallow, the improvement in his condition is remarkable.
“His memory of events is understandably scattered, caused by post-traumatic stresses and some amnesia.
“He even thought he had only been asleep for two days or so. We have told him about all the messages of support and fundraising, and hope it will not be long before Ricky is able to thank everyone himself.”
Tigers co-promoter David Hoggart said there was still a long way to go.
He said: “While this is most encouraging and we are all pleased, Ricky still needs constant care and his family continue to need all the support possible.
“But Ricky is a fighter and this is excellent news.
“Everyone at Sheffield speedway is hoping Ricky continues to make progress and we will do whatever we can to support him and his family.”