Darren Chiacchia---Inside the Personal Life of an Olympian

By: Lee Gordon Email
By: Lee Gordon Email

Darren's injury at the Red Hills Horse Trials in 2008 was tragic, but so was his personal and professional life following the accident...and there were many people that fed off his pain...and again,

The past year has been an emotional roller coaster for Darren Chiacchia. The highs are awfully high, like last weeks win at Rocking Horse.

But the lows, are awfully low. And they all coincide with the worst day in Darren's life. The day his life almost ended.

"He's gotten a 2nd chance in life," said barn manager Waylon Robert, "He sees things clearer and surrounds himself with people caring for him and not trying to use him."

Darren says the emotional part of the recovery has been shocking and nothing could have prepared him for what was to come.

" I have a very different life than the one I left. My partner that I was prepared to spend the rest of my life with, gone, my secretary and dear friend of 26 years, gone, another dear friend of 16 years, gone, other than 1 key client, the rest were gone. It was a ghost town."

"If they weren't on the payroll, they weren't here. That's when you realize who your friends are."

These days, Darren has a good group of friends. Some have been with him for awhile, others like Steve Durham are new. And each day with Darren is a reminder of how good this guy really is.

"He's back riding at Olympic level already, it's unheard of to come out. It's pretty amazing. He's an incredible person.:"

As for the injury, Darren is over it. He credits Red Hills for acting quickly and says no one is to fault. Not the designer, not the horse, and not himself. And that's the new Darren. Glass half full, because that's what you do when you're given a second chance.

"If something good comes from it and the sport becomes safer because "of", then all is not lost."

Darren credits medical personnel at Red Hills and the Vogter Neuro Intensive Care Unit at TMH with saving his life.

By the way the 10th USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger coming up next month at Forest Meadows, which WCTV is proud to be a sponsor of, helps raise funds for the Vogter Unit and we encourage you to go out and support that event starting April 18th.


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  • by artistkvip Location: tallahassee on Mar 12, 2009 at 08:12 PM
    its nice to see you walking around agin.. i said some prayers for you but you and god did the real work.. i know what you know now that life changing experience is such inadequite words for what actually happens when it happens to you. i wish you the best of everything i don't know if your a rich man or a poor man participating in a rich mans sport but either way your recovery cannot be attributed to money i suspect enjoy your life
  • by Sandra Location: Carrabelle, FL on Mar 12, 2009 at 06:08 PM
    Hi Mr. Chiacchia, We hope you see this note. You are simply amazing! We are so happy you are doing well. Please know, though people have unexpectly walked away from you, there are so many that haven't. You don't know us, but we have been praying for you since your accident at Red Hills. I, personally, was there, as a Jump Judge. Form that very moment, I called my husband, and he played you and your family on a prayer list. Though many events since your accident have been disturbing, you keep your chin up, "Stay in the Word of God" and know there are many people out there that think the world of you. Kindly, The Rickards Family
  • by sos1 on Mar 12, 2009 at 06:08 PM
    you know -- it was sad what happen to him but-- a lots of us people are tired of hearing it--you would think this is the only person around that has been hurt in an accident.. Glad he is ok but, enough is enough....
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