Cooney keen to return after Black Friday crash
Sun, 12 Aug 2012 6:22p.m.
By Susie Nordqvist
It's been a month since a horrific Black Friday crash which left top harness racing driver Frank Cooney in an induced coma.
The 62-year-old's family was preparing for the worst after he was catapulted through the air and into the path of another driver during a race at Auckland's Alexandra Park.
But four weeks after the accident which left him with swelling and bleeding to the brain, he says he's not about to let a few scrapes and bruises or superstitions get in the way of a 40-year career in racing.
“Well I'm still here, that's the main thing.”
Cooney went into the race at Alexandra Park as the favourite, but ended up on life support.
An investigation has found the filly he was driving had steering issues which may have contributed to the accident.
Cooney remembers none of it. Not even video replays have jogged his memory.
“I had to just view it as if it was like somebody else. So yeah, yeah it was a bit hard.”
But that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down.
“At this stage no, no plans to retire. I might take up racing cars.”
Cooney's wife Anne knows only too well how determined her husband can be.
“Frank, when he was on the ventilator, constantly kept sitting bolt upright. Frank was quite strong-willed so when he did that they said, ‘Frank you are not on a horse now so lie down’.”
The racing industry is all about good luck and bad luck. So Anne’s never comfortable when her husband's racing on a Black Friday.
“What was worse when Frank was in critical care he was in cubicle 13, so I was so relieved when we moved out of that ward,” she says.
“I would've looked at it as I could've won 13 races that day,” says Cooney.
But he will have to wait to add to his winning tally.
He's been told it could be six months before he's back in the sulky.
Until then he'll have to remain a frustrated spectator.
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