Olympic rider Darren Chiacchia in critical condition after fall

Updated: March 17, 2008, 5:22 PM ET
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Olympic equestrian Darren Chiacchia remained unconscious and in critical condition Monday with a severe head injury after falling off his horse during a weekend competition.

Doctors ruled out a spinal injury after extensive testing, his brother said. The 42-year-old rider sustained multiple rib fractures and injuries to both lungs. He was breathing on his own after being taken off of a ventilator.

"The fact that he's breathing on his own is great, but he's got a long way to go," Daniel Chiacchia said.

Chiacchia, a 2004 U.S. Olympic equestrian team member, fell at a fence at the Red Hills Horse Trials competition Saturday. He was airlifted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, where he remained in the intensive care unit.

The horse, Baron Verdi, wasn't hurt.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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