Kevin Babington, the Olympic show jumper who injured his spinal cord in a fall at the Hampton Classic (New York) on Aug. 20, transferred to a rehabilitation center on Sept. 24. His wife, Dianna Babington, posted on Facebook, “Kevin was successfully transferred to rehab today. He was extremely happy to get out of [New York University] Langone Health Care despite the excellent care.”
She thanked staff at the hospital where he had been a patient for 3 ½ weeks. “They worked tirelessly to keep Kevin stable,” she wrote, “and to get him in the best shape to transition.”
While in the hospital, Babington met a number of challenges. He overcame pneumonia, a common complication of intubation, and reduced his use of a ventilator. He also underwent a tracheotomy and surgery to stabilize the vertebrae in his neck near the injury.
“He has made great gains,” said Daun Imperatore, Babington’s sister-in-law. “He’s still breathing with assistance, but there are times that he’s not. He was really anxious to get on to rehab.”
The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, created after the actor was injured in a cross-country fall in 1995, has provided valuable information to the family. “The Reeve Foundation has been terrific in terms of guiding us through how to apply for assistance and giving us a list of resources about what families need to be prepared for,” said Imperatore. “The first thing they told us is everybody’s different. It’s all going to depend on the amount of swelling in [the injured area], but the rehabilitation is going to try to mitigate that.
“They start to really push you [in rehab],” she continued “and the more you move your limbs and move your body parts, the more it will actually reduce the swelling.”
Several fundraisers across the equine industry including a GoFundMe page have raised more than $939,000 toward ongoing expenses.
Imperatore emphasized the family’s gratitude for the continuing support. “The rehabilitation stops when insurance stops,” she said. “We don’t know how much he’s going to need. That’s why the donations and the support are so incredibly appreciated and so necessary.”
Dianna has begun planning alterations to their house to accommodate his long-term care. “They do have to modify their home, because a lot of the recovery may be in a situation where he is immobilized,” Imperatore explained. “We don’t know how much he’s going to regain, and when. We’re still very hopeful that he can make a full recovery.”