Ballyclare’s Jamie Hamilton has told of his relief after finally having the cage removed from his right leg four years after a life-threatening crash at the Isle of Man TT.
Hamilton had the external fixator taken off on June 12, exactly four years to the day since his terrifying crash in the Senior race.
The 28-year-old came off near the 11th milestone on the exit of Molyneux’s corner, a fast right-hander at the end of the Cronk-y-Voddy straight.
He was fortunate to survive and spent months in hospital after sustaining serious head, arm and leg injuries.
Hamilton, who was in attendance at the Armoy Road Races last weekend with the Burrows Racing team, said: “I got the cage off six weeks ago on 12 June.
“That was exactly four years to the day since my crash.”
He underwent at least 25 operations but his right leg was very badly damaged and surgeons fitted four cages to the shattered limb to facilitate bone growth.
“I always said the number four was my lucky number,” Hamilton added.
“I used 44 as my race number and over four years I had four cages on my leg. And it all came good in the end after four years.”
Previous attempts to remove the cage failed, with Jamie re-breaking his leg only two days after it was taken off in 2016.
A year later, the same thing happened again only a week and a half after the cage was removed.
However, he finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel when he was referred to Dr Matija Krkovic, who saved Isle of Man TT star Ian Hutchinson’s leg following a crash at Silverstone in 2010.
“There were dark days, dark weeks,” he said.
“I tried to stay busy and upbeat but when the leg refused to heal I got fed up. It was just the same thing time and time again.”
An X-ray in February this year revealed the healing process was still not proceeding as hoped.
As previously reported, Jamie asked Dr Krkovic to amputate his leg.
He said: “I know that sounds drastic but I saw it as a positive. I thought I could start getting on with life, preparing and training for the Paralympics to see what I could achieve without a leg.”
He thankfully persevered and now the upbeat Ulsterman is looking confidently towards the future.
“Dr Krkovic is an amazing man. He is confident that the bone is strong now and everything will be alright,” Jamie said.
“I am trying to get fit and a have a stone off in the past six weeks since the cage was removed.
“I don’t know what the future holds but I do want to have ago on a motorbike again.
“I need to be able to ride one and then step off and say ‘That’s me done now’.”
“I have already been enquiring if I might be able to ride in a parade lap on at the Classic TT at the end of August.
“It has to be my choice, not one that is made for me.”