Ballyclare motorcyclist Jamie Hamilton’s recovery after a horror crash at the Isle of Man TT more than two years ago has taken a major setback following a recent infection.
Jamie (26), who sustained head, arm and leg injuries after crashing at 170 miles per hour at the event in June 2015, has experienced a tough journey, including the possibility of having his leg amputated.
Jamie said: “I had a cage fitted to my right leg following the crash and I got it off on July 5 2016. My leg broke again within two days of having the cage removed and on July 12 2016 I got another cage fitted. I went for a year and my leg didn’t seem to be healing, the bone wasn’t joining together.
“I saw a specialist in Cambridge and he cut 8cm of infected bone out of my leg on July 26 of this year.
“A total of 8cm had to be grown back and I was 5mm off from being finished, but I took a big lump on the front of my leg.”
Jamie added: “I thought it was a pin site infection, which is quite common if you have a cage. I went to the Royal Victoria Hospital and after tests I was told my leg may need amputated.
“I signed myself out of the Royal and 13 hours later I was in Cambridge hooked up to IVs, I spent 11 days there and my leg has managed to be saved, but I’m back to where I was probably two years ago.
“Hopefully that’s all the infections away. I’m still on antibiotics and I’m back on crutches.
“I’ve to wait until the bone gets stronger so the cage can come off. Everyone is different, but I’m hoping to have it removed sometime between April and July of next year.”
Following his crash, Jamie had hoped to get involved in motorcycle racing again.
After his latest health issues, Jamie explained: “I need to be in the position where I can ride a motorbike and then decide where to go from there. I wouldn’t completely rule it out. I would need to believe that I could win a TT race. It’s a big ask to do it when you’re fully fit, never mind when you’ve got problems hampering you.
“I believed before my crash that I could win an Isle of Man TT race and I would need to believe that again before I would be interested in going back racing.”
Reflecting on his situation, he said: “I realise now that there is a lot more in life, rather than when I raced.
“I was very one minded and the only thing in my life that mattered was racing a motorbike and I couldn’t see past motorbikes, but now I understand there is life without motorbikes.
“I would prefer to be able to race and I would prefer the fairy tale ending, but if it can’t be, then it’s not the end of the world.”
Since the crash, Jamie has received a lot of support from medical staff, family and friends.
Thanking everyone, he added: “I think in this country we get complacent regarding hospitals and think we can just go in and get medical care. The staff are working constantly and we’re not thankful enough for the help they give.
“Whenever you race motorbikes, everybody wants to be your friend and wants to go with you. When you’re in the scenario that I’m in now, two and a half years down the line, you work out the people who are there who care about you.”
Despite his setbacks, Jamie is remaining positive and looking ahead to 2018.
“This is my third New Year’s Eve that I’ll be going into the New Year wanting that improvement, so hopefully this year it happens,” he said.