Local mountain horse racer Jimmy Lulua is recovering in a Kamloops hospital after a horrific accident at the Nemiah Valley Rodeo Sunday.
Lulua’s sister Gailene William said Tuesday her brother’s sense of humour was still intact following surgery at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital Monday evening, to repair his skull, which was partially crushed during the accident.
“Today [Tuesday] when I went to see him he was still going in and out of sleep but he was talking to me,” William said. “He’s still making jokes and joking about the nurses and he’s still thinking positively. He was flexing his muscles, showing he’s still a strong person and laughing a bit.”
Lulua was competing in Sunday’s mountain horse race at the rodeo when his horse flipped down the embankment near the start of the race. Lulua broke one of his legs above his ankle, along with breaking some bones on his face and skull.
Lulua’s horse broke its leg and had to be put down. William said she was video taping on the hill when the accident happened and immediately rushed toward him, along with two other ladies who were close by.
“It’s pretty steep near the first part of the trail, and pretty rocky,” she said. “We’re not sure if the horse lost its footing or what but the horse went, from the footage in the video, head over heels and tumbled down the hill.
“We’re not sure if the horse rolled over him, or he was stepped on or if it was the impact of being thrown on the ground that caused his injuries.”
Luckily, William said one of the women near her had her level three first aid. Once more people arrived to help they made sure Lulua was kept cool, got him on a spine board and kept him conscious.
“When we got there he had a pretty big goose egg on his forehead, which is why he ended up having surgery on his head.”
After a near two-hour delay in the rodeo Lulua was medevaced to Williams Lake.
“They did some X-rays and put a cast on his leg and then Monday they sent him to Kamloops by ground ambulance,” she said. “He had surgery [Monday] around 6 p.m. and he was in there until about 9:30 p.m. Where he had the big goose egg it had basically concaved inwards, so they were reconstructing part of his skull and his cheek bones.”
William said the staff at Royal Inland Hospital told her they expect him to remain in the Intensive Care Unit until Wednesday; however, it was possible he’d be moved Tuesday. She also said Lulua didn’t suffer any brain injuries in the accident.
“He said he had a bit of a headache today but otherwise he was able to stand up,” she said. “His physiotherapist came to see him and they had him sit up in bed and gave him a walker to have him stand up and he did that OK.
“They [the nurses] said Lulua’s probably the strongest person there in the ICU.”