For many of us who play sports, we find that our sport isn’t just a sport, but our passion and our life. With every sport we play, we understand that there are certain risks that we take with our bodies each time we step up to the plate, walk out on the field or get on the horse. Unfortunately, on the occasional off day, the mistakes can be costly and take a toll on our bodies, and what once was our passion can be taken away in the blink of an eye.
From Tipperary, Ireland, 51-year-old professional horseback rider Kevin Babington is highly passionate about his sport, but also has a passion for animals, especially his four-legged teammates. He is based in Allentown, New Jersey. When he is not competing, he is training students to become skilled riders as well as training horses for sale and spending time with his wife, Dianna, and two girls, Gwyneth and Marielle. Kevin is a Grand Prix rider, and most recently won the CSI*** Assante Classic at the International Bromont in August with his horse, Shorapur. Looking back to July, he swept the Lake Placid Horse Show, where he took home the top three places in the $100,000 Great American Insurance Group Grand Prix single-handedly.
On Aug. 30, Kevin and his horse Shorapur were competing in the $75,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier at the Hampton Classic Horse Show in New York. While heading to the final element of a triple combination, Kevin had a tragic fall which resulted in a complete injury to his cervical spine. He was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital and then transferred to the New York University Langone Medical Center in Manhattan. Kevin had to undergo a five-hour spine stabilization surgery to stabilize the bones in his neck on Sept. 3.
“The vertebrae were fused and his neck is stabilized,” Babington’s sister-in-law, Daun Imperatore, said. “He is out of the collar and breathing on his own. Kevin is showing that Babington spirit he is known for, fighting hard and doing all and more that is asked of him from PT! He is determined to recover and anyone who knows his spirit, know it is still there!”
“If you know him you know he is talented but humble, kind, private, and giving among all things,” Babington’s wife Dianna said. “He was the friend that tried to donate a kidney when one was needed. The trainer that didn’t charge the kid he knew couldn’t afford a lesson.”
Dianna continued to explain different vices in Kevin’s life. He is a vegetarian because he found slaughter impossible to support and is so empathetic to living things he couldn’t eat them, he stops to take turtles off the road, he stops to assist when a horse trailer has a flat, so on and so forth.
“Above all things he is a great father and life partner and as he lays here he is panicking about the three of us instead of himself,” Dianna continued.
The Babington family has remained strong through this trying time, but due to the nature of Kevin’s accident, his medical bills will be costly. If you’ve ever been injured or kept back from playing the sport you love due to a medical condition, and someone told you that you had the opportunity to get another shot to get back on your feet, what would you do? I urge you to consider being in this position and the selfless human who lies in this predicament and his loved ones, and donate towards his medical bills. Unlike most major sports injuries, Kevin’s accident has received close to no coverage by any credible news outlet. This gives no exposure to his current situation and belittles the severity of this injury, at his age, in this level of the sport.
To get Kevin back on his feet after this tragic accident, his family needs help to cover his growing medical expenses. A close friend of Kevin’s, Kathy Gilbert, has created a GoFundMe to help support him and his family. For the man that has given everything he has to this sport and his family, please consider donating to him and supporting his family in this difficult time and helping him to get back on his feet.
Please consider donating at https://www.gofundme.com/f/for-kevin-babington-and-family.