Eventing equestrian Bubby Upton has been named Athletes’ Athlete of the Month for her determined rehabilitation after undergoing spine surgery earlier in the year.
Bubby broke her back, suffering an unstable fracture, when her horse landed on her in August. She was told she may not be able to walk again or that she could suffer permanent damage to her right leg, but just 12 weeks after surgery Bubby was cleared to return to horseback.
The eventer had been preparing for the Burghley 5* Horse Trials after a personally strong year. She had placed in the top 10 at the Badminton 5* and became under-25 European champion the following month, but her chance to compete at Burghley was cruelly denied. She is now working towards a return to competition for the start of her season in March.
Speaking to the BEAA, Bubby said: “It was pretty terrifying, not knowing whether I’d be able to walk again, if I’d have permanent damage to my right leg, or if I’d be fortunate enough to have the road to recovery that I’m on. I am deeply and eternally grateful to my surgeon for genuinely working miracles on me.
“I’m so grateful to everyone who’s not only voted but who’s helped me get this far on this road to recovery.”
Her efforts topped a poll among elite British athletes to decide who on the World Class Programme deserved most recognition for their successes last month.
The equestrian was shortlisted alongside Ben Dijkstra (triathlon), Laura Gallagher and Bryony Page (both gymnastics).
The Athletes’ Athlete of the Month award is given to elite British sportspeople by the BEAA for their achievements in competition or elsewhere, such as personal development, inspiring comebacks, charity work, awareness raising and more.
It celebrates successes across elite British sport, and commends more than just competitive accomplishment – with every winner decided by the athlete community.
Thank you to every athlete who voted, and congratulations to Bubby for winning, as well as to Ben, Laura and Bryony for their nominations.
Elite British athletes, to cast your vote next time, keep an eye on your emails from the BEAA!