Darcy Ward: Injured speedway rider 'unlikely to walk again'
Poole Pirates rider Darcy Ward says he is "unlikely to ever walk again" following a serious crash in Poland.
The high-speed accident happened in August while he was racing for Zielona Gora and has left the 23-year-old Australian confined to a wheelchair.
"I know that this is probably it forever. But I also know that miracles can happen in medicine in this day and age," he told BBC South Today.
Ward is now planning to return home to his native Queensland.
He was on loan from Poole to fellow Elite League side Swindon Robins before the crash, which he remembers vividly.
"I remember being in the pits before," he said. "I hadn't had the best meeting up to that stage and I wanted to go out in the final race and win.
"I remember tumbling over, it was all quite fast. I was lying there on the floor waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
"I couldn't feel anything, but I knew I'd broken my arm.
"Then I remember going to the hospital and that was it before I woke up after an operation."
Following a two-and-half hour spinal operation, Ward was transferred back to the UK within days.
In October, he appeared in person at a benefit meeting staged at Poole's Wimborne Road to help with his rehabilitation expenses.
Support continues to flood in for Ward, who was visited in hospital by former Formula 1 driver Mark Webber during the early stages of his recovery.
"It's been a good up and down career, but I wouldn't change anything for the world," said Ward, who plans to stay involved in speedway in some capacity.
His girlfriend Lizzie has been by his side throughout and is set to join him for the move back to Australia.
"It's pretty crazy, but she tells me she doesn't care about the wheelchair," he added. "She still sees me as Darcy and still sees me as very much the same. We're stronger than ever and she's a superstar in my eyes."