Jockey Julie Krone could have been killed in a spill at Saratoga three weeks ago had it not been for a special vest she wears in races, her doctor said Monday.
Frank Ariosta, head of orthopedic surgery at Staten Island University Hospital, and Krone held a news conference at the hospital, where Krone talked publicly about the accident for the first time.
Krone said that she not only suffered a broken ankle, but also sustained a deep flesh wound to her left elbow and was hit in the chest by the hoof of a trailing horse, causing a bruised heart.
“I knew I was going to get hit as soon as I went down, and boom! It took my breath away, but at the same time, I could feel that the vest protected me,” Krone said.
The vest, made of the synthetic material called Kevlar, is worn by some, but not all, jockeys and is similar to a bulletproof vest.
Krone underwent two operations eight days apart, the second one on Sept. 9, and has two metal plates and 14 screws in her ankle. Ariosta said that Krone should be able to return to race riding in about six months.