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October 16, 2002

Desormeaux Takes Off Mounts for Son's Surgery

From: BloodHorse
Oct. 16, 2002

(From track report)
Jockey Kent Desormeaux said Wednesday that he will not ride for the next few days at Santa Anita in order to be with his 3-year-old son, Jacob, who is scheduled to undergo emergency surgery on his right ear Thursday at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles.

Jacob was born deaf and had a cochlear implant inserted two years ago to aid his hearing.

"He is perfecting his language skills," Desormeaux said. "He is hearing and we're conversing with him. You can talk to him like any other child. His skull has healed where they bore a hole for this (cochlear) instrument (to be inserted). Unfortunately, the skull is now trying to push through the skin, so he has to have emergency surgery." Kent and his wife, Sonia, have one other son, Joshua, 9.

"It's certainly sad for mom and dad, but Jacob is the happiest kid in the world and there's no other option," Desormeaux said. "We've been contemplating whether to end these procedures altogether or not (this will be Jacob's fifth surgery), because if he's going to do this every four months, then we don't want to do it. He gets joy out of hearing, and as his parents, certainly we do, too. Maybe it's selfish (on our part), because it's tiresome on both the parents and the child. He's just as happy as ever. He doesn't know there's any problem, but it's something we have to do."

Desormeaux said pre-op procedures were scheduled Wednesday, with the surgery Thursday.

"Hopefully, he'll be fine by Friday," Desormeaux said.

Agent Tom Knust said Desormeaux also would not ride Friday.

"Business was light that day anyway," he said, "and Kent will probably need the day."

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