Former Berwick speedway rider Ricky Ashworth has been discharged from hospital, exactly a year after his life-threatening accident at Scunthorpe.
Ashworth, who was racing for Bandits at the time after spending much of his Premier League career with Sheffield, is now back home with his family having initially spent 91 days in a coma.
Speedway Riders’ Benevolent Fund secretary Paul Ackroyd said: “Ricky now begins his long haul towards gaining further recovery with the help of his dad Dave and stepmum Pam.
“The Ashworth family are over the moon to have Ricky back home after 365 days.”
Ashworth suffered severe head injuries following an on-track accident at the Eddie Wright Raceway last August.
After initially being detained in hospital in Hull, where his family kept a bedside vigil, he was eventually moved to a unit closer to his home in Salford, Greater Manchester.
Only recently it was revealed he was being allowed home at weekends, but because of his ongoing condition his time spent away from the hospital was limited.
But on Friday, ironically, as Berwick were preparing for another meeting at Scunthorpe, came the fantastic news that the xx year-old had been released from hospital and had been allowed home on a permanent basis.
Dad Dave said: “I am so pleased to tell all of Ricky’s friends and fans that he is finally home for good.
“It’s exactly a year on and the nurses have finally discharges him. But this is where the hard work really begins.
“He’s currently sat with his close family listening to some AC/DC! It is wonderful, amazing how much he’s come on, considering...”
“Since he got home he’s not stopped smiling and singing.
“We all still have a long journey to go, the longest journey of our lives, but he’s home and he’s happy!
“Thank-you everyone at Berwick, for everything!”
To mark the anniversary of his crash, Berwick had already prepared a special edition of their match-day programme carrying a front cover shot of Ashworth.
The club said this was to show everyone was still thinking of him and how he has so bravely fought for health in the 12 months since his accident.
The picture showed Ashworth at Peterborough in 2012, when Berwick won the Fours, and with the Bandits back at the East of England Showground on Sunday in the same competition, it was considered a timely reminder.
But on hearing the news that the former Bandits’ skipper was now back home with his family, the programme took on an added significance.
Co-promoter Dennis McCleary said: “It really is fantastic news to hear Ricky is out of hospital and back home with his family.
“It has been a long, long year, but Ricky has battled through it. We wish him well in his recovery and would like him to know that everyone here at Berwick is still thinking about him.
“Hopefully we will see him back at Berwick for a meeting some day, but for the time being we are just glad to know he is making enough progress to be allowed back home to continue his recovery.
“It was fitting that we should feature Ricky on the front cover of our match programme for Saturday’s meeting - perhaps it was some kind of omen.
“In any event, it couldn’t have been more fitting and appropriate.”