Ricky Ashworth taken off life support machine

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Berwick Bandits rider Ricky Ashworth has been taken off a life support machine and is now breathing unaided, it emerged tonight.

The Salford-based speedway rider remains in a coma at Hull Royal Infirmary, where he has been ever since his accident during Berwick’s away meeting at Scunthorpe almost four weeks ago.

Berwick Bandits are all wearing wristbands for injured rider Ricky Ashworth

Berwick Bandits are all wearing wristbands for injured rider Ricky Ashworth

But there was more encouraging news tonight when Bandits team manager Ian Rae and his family went to visit Ricky in hospital. He was warmly greeted by Ricky’s dad Dave, step mum Pam and sister Jade.

The rider has been moved out of the high dependency unit and is responding to voices.

A statement on the Berwick Bandits facebook page read: “Ricky is now out of the High Dependancy Unit and now in a very small ward. He is no longer on a life support system and is breathing unaided. Although Ricky remains in an un induced coma , he is responding to voices.

“Today when Ian took Ricky’s hand and spoke to him Ricky responded by opening his eyes and squeezing Ian’s hand.

“Doctors are continually monitoring his situation and it is hoped that Ricky will be transferred to a neurological ward in a hospital in his home town of Salford in the next few days.”

Ricky’s sister Jade revealed on a social networking site at the weekend that Ricky had ‘squeezed her hand’ when she sat at his bedside.

Jade said it brought a tear to her eye and was convinced she saw a tear in her brother’s eye as well.

A collection at Shielfield recently raised over £1,100 for the stricken rider and now a large number of supporters and riders, including all his Berwick team-mates, are wearing ‘Pray for Ricky’ wristbands until he wakes.

The Berwick Bandits statement added: “Dave and Pam Ashworth have again asked Ian to pass on their heartfelt thanks to the speedway world for their good wishes and overwhelming response to the sales of Ricky Ashworth wristbands.”