Delpech to undergo special treatment

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2006, 12:00am

South African rider Anthony Delpech will undergo treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in an effort to speed the healing of his broken left collarbone.

Delpech fell when his mount Devon Flair clipped heels after the line at Sha Tin on Sunday and the jockey was tossed to the track into the path of runners behind and soon after was diagnosed with the fracture.

'I don't remember much about it but I guess it is one of those things that happens in racing. My neck's stiff and sore, which is usual after any fall, but I also have a lot of pain in my right leg, above the thigh, so I'm having that X-rayed,' Delpech said yesterday. 'Fortunately, the collarbone break is a simple one that won't require surgery, although the prognosis is still that I won't ride at all for a month.' But Delpech is not taking the injury lying down, so to speak.

'A lot of sportsmen in South Africa use decompression chambers to speed up the healing process and everyone raves about it so I'm going to give it a go,' he said.

Treatment in a decompression chamber (or hyperbaric oxygen therapy), is where an athlete is placed under higher-than-normal air pressure, which allows his or her system to receive a better oxygen flow through the blood and tissues and heal naturally but more quickly.

While there is debate in the sports medicine community about the clinical worth of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Delpech is well aware of the strong anecdotal evidence for its benefits.

'Glyn Schofield has used it and told me it's very good. The champion South African rugby player Andre Joubert broke his hand leading to the World Cup but had intensive decompression treatment and was able to come back in time to play,' Delpech said.

'And I know of one jockey in South Africa who broke his collarbone and was back riding in two weeks after this kind of therapy. I don't want to come back before I'm ready or push the recovery along too quickly, but everyone swears by it so I think I'll give it a go.'

Delpech will spend the next week in Hong Kong before he returns to Durban for the treatment.