Thursday, 21 October 2021

Paramedics saved my life after I broke neck

THEY say that if you fall off your horse you should hop straight back on, but for polo player Rona

THEY say that if you fall off your horse you should hop straight back on, but for polo player Rona Posselt it would be almost a year before she was able to do so.

Six years ago, while playing a polo match at a club in Salisbury, she fell off her grey mare Cortesa and broke her neck. She says that if it wasn’t for a doctor playing in the match and the speedy response of the air ambulance team she would not be alive today.

Now the 43-year-old businesswoman from Checkendon is helping to raise money for the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust by organising an open day at Binfield Heath Polo Club.

Recalling the accident, Mrs Posselt said: “I was going ever so enthusiastically when I overbalanced and landed on my head and snapped my neck.

“I don’t remember much about it but my head felt really heavy.

“I broke two vertebrae, which basically means you have snapped your head off. The vast majority who suffer this injury do not survive. I was very lucky that there was a doctor playing on the other team and as soon as she saw me she called the air ambulance.

“If anyone had tried to put me in the recovery position that day they probably would have killed me. The air ambulance paramedics were brilliant. They knew exactly what to do. They saved my life.” She was airlifted to a hospital in Salisbury where the surgeon tried out a new technique he had learned in Australia.

Mrs Posselt was placed in a metal body frame, with her head held rigid but tilting slightly backwards in an aluminium frame.

She spent two weeks on her back staring at the ceiling before being transferred to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

At the time she lived in Boston Road, Henley, and was soon a familiar figure as she ventured out each day with her head and upper body still held in a frame. Each day, she was able to go a little further and eventually was able to get back on a horse.

Mrs Posselt, who was brought up with horses, said: “I rode again 11 months to the day after my accident, up in Ipsden. Getting back on that horse was the best feeling ever.

“One surgeon said, ‘clearly, she’s never going to ride again’ and my mother said, ‘of course she will!’ It’s in our blood, really.” Mrs Posselt has made a full recovery but still suffers some pain and has physiotherapy regularly.

She no longer plays polo but is an active member of Binfield Heath Polo Club, where the fund-raising open day will be held on Saturday, July 27 from 10am to 5pm. There will be five games of varying levels as well as Argentinian food stalls. A team from the air ambulance trust will be on hand all day and the helicopter will be there from noon to 2pm. Entrance is £10 per car.

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