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.