“I thought I was dead,” Cassidy told the Herald from his hospital bed. “I don’t know how I got out of it the way I did but I did.
“We were going around a corner. The other bloke came to the corner, I could see him, I was 50 metres away. All of a sudden, he went bang into my windscreen. He lost control on the wet road and just hit me head on. I had nowhere to go. If I went to the left, I would’ve hit a tree.
“The airbag went off. I’ve never seen one go off before. With all the dust, I thought the car was on fire. I was panicking so I was just trying to get out. They found me staggering around on the road.”
Cassidy was rushed by ambulance to Westmead Hospital where he remains in a stable condition.
“I’ve got a sore head and a sore body but I’m blessed,” he said. “I have a little bit of bleeding on the brain but that’s stopped, according to the neurosurgeons. My head is quite big. My head smashed into the driver’s side window. It was swelling up right before my mum’s eyes yesterday. The right side of my face is so sore. They were giving me morphine but it didn’t seem to work.
“I’m looking to being discharged tomorrow [Tuesday] with bruising to the body and just the trauma of it. It threw me around the car a lot. I’m just very thankful that I had a seat belt on and the airbag worked. Very, very luck boy.”
One of the sport’s greatest jockeys before retiring in 2015, Cassidy suffered numerous race falls and injuries throughout his illustrious riding career.
His worst came in 1991 when he was catapulted off the Rick Hore-Lacy-trained Diddy Do It in the Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield. As Cassidy lay prone on the ground, the fallen horse slid over the top of him.
Renowned for having a high pain threshold, Cassidy didn’t go to hospital but X-rays later revealed he had a 14cm crack in his sternum.
“I would rather fall off a horse any day than experience what I just experienced,” Cassidy said. “Last night, I was trying to sleep but I kept seeing this car coming at me. I’ve never been a speeder. Driven all over Australia and New Zealand, five or six hours to race meetings, but I’m very cautious on the road. I would only speed on horses. The faster they go the better. But not in cars.”
He added: “I keep getting a lot of text messages of support. I’ve got a lot of living and laughing to do yet, brother. I’m not going anywhere. I was supposed to take Vick to dinner on Saturday night. I haven’t been home yet. I’m still at the hospital.”
Cassidy said he was yet to be contacted by police about the accident.
“I’m worried about my golf clubs and shoes,” he quipped. “Normally it would be my riding gear but now that I play golf three times a week I’m worried about my golf gear. Do you know how hard it is to find a pair of size five golf shoes?”
Andrew Webster is Chief Sports Writer of The Sydney Morning Herald.