Ruby Walsh: Russian WWII medical idea saved my career but cost me a fortune in new trousers

It looks like something Dr Frankenstein might have decided was a bit much.



On this Friday’s From the Horse’s Mouth Ruby explained how a bizarre medical invention involving bicycle wheels from WWII potentially saved his career but hit him in the pocket as he had to fork out on nine pairs of trousers just so he could leave the house.

I broke my leg in Down Royal 10 years ago and I ended up in hospital in Belfast and the specialist decided this Ilizarov frame would be the best way of healing my leg. The Ilizarov frame was a Russian invention that came from the war when they had run out of medical supplies for broken bones and they used the wheels off bicycles.

It was a very bad break. They put the Ilizarov frame on me, it’s basically four metal circles around my leg and there were four pins on each circle that went through the leg, through the bones and out the other side. There were 16 wounds that had to be cleaned everyday to keep from being infected.

The big upside was that it allowed me to walk on it almost right away after the operation. I had this big frame and I had to get trousers made to go over it. It was a brilliant piece of kit, expensive. It was lucky it happened in the North and not the South!


It definitely helped heal my leg and there’s a good chance it saved my career back then.

It did come with some problems though, leaving the house soon became an issue as this thing was massive and I couldn’t get any trousers on over it so my wife came up with the genius idea of stitching three pairs of jeans together.

You could get tracksuit bottoms over it but you soon get sick of that. Christmas was coming and if you’re going anywhere that’s in anyway dressy it means you’re turning up at a black-tie do in shirt, tie, jacket and a pair of tracksuit bottoms. You can’t be doing that. You have to try and at least look the part.

Anyway, my wife got three pairs of trousers made for me, a pair of jeans and two pairs of trousers. You had to buy three of each and turn them into one of each but the frame was that good I played a round of golf in it. It was an amazing thing.

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