It was a great day for polo as approximately 400 guests showed up at Prince of Wales Field on Sunday, September 17th for the “Team Up for Tony,” benefit polo tournament hosted by Oak Brook Polo Club. Nearly $25k was raised in support of Tony Sekera’s recovery.
On Friday, June 2nd, Sekera was badly injured during a solo stick and ball practice near Aiken, South Carolina. His favorite polo pony took a bad stumble resulting in his somersaulting over the animal’s head fracturing his C4 and C5 vertebrae with devastating spinal cord damage. He was airlifted to Augusta University Medical Center for an emergency surgery to realign vertebrae and decompress his spinal cord. Sekera stayed in the Shock Trauma Unit for two weeks until he was stabilized enough to be flown to Chicago's world class Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (formerly RIC). Due to significant immobility below his shoulders, Sekera will have to rely on 24/7 nursing care and insurmountable challenges.
"Tony has been an integral part of our Chicago Polo Community for almost 30 years - a distinctive accomplishment few can claim,” explains Jim Drury, patron of Oak Brook Polo Club.
His upbeat personality, and joy for the game, were evident every time he took the field. This past Sunday provided a wonderful occasion for his polo colleagues, and many friends, to convey their deep affectionand support for Tony, and his wife Cindy, as they travel a courageous journey to recovery.
"The tournament kicked off on Saturday with four teams including GoPolo, Lithoprint, Windridge, and Zeralda. Sunday featured the consolation match of Windridge winning over GoPolo 6-4 followed by the Championship match of Lithoprint winning over Zeralda 3-2.
“MVP honors” were given to Chris Vangel of Windridge and Jennifer Leuders of Zeralda while “Best Playing Pony” was given to the horse Fantasia owned by Matt Sekera.
“Tony and I experienced an amazing and overwhelming outpouring of love and support from everyone at the event, bolstering our determination and outlook for his future,” explains Cindy Engdahl Sekera. “We are very appreciative of the polo community, the Oak Brook Polo Club team, James Drury, and the host of dedicated volunteers and special friends that made the event possible.”
2017 marks Oak Brook Polo Club's 95th season as one of the nation's oldest polo clubs in operation today and fourth oldest sports property in Chicago. Once considered the “polo capital” of the world Oak Brookwas the destination for American Polo players and enthusiasts.
To donate to Tony’s Go Fund Me page, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/tony-sekera