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Sept. 4, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina equestrian program announced today that junior Victoria Middleton was released from the hospital two days early and that Middleton is now at home with her family in Marietta, Ga. Middleton was originally scheduled to be released from the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga. on Fri. Sept. 4, but her doctors cleared her for early release on Wed., Sept. 2.

“When I found out she was going home early, I was certainly very excited for Victoria and her family,” head coach Boo Major said. “I know they’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time.”

Major visited Middleton twice in the last two weeks and said Middleton has come a long way.

“She looked and sounded great,” said Major. “It was amazing how much progress she made in the week since I had previously seen her. If you were to sit down and have a conversation with her, it’d be like having a chat with anybody else.”

Middleton was injured July 24 while bathing a horse in preparation for a horse show in Bennington, Vt. The horse became scared and broke the fencing where it was tied, causing the rail to hit Middleton in the face and knocking her to the ground. During the fall, she hit her head on the cement surface.

Major said that Middleton no longer uses a wheelchair, and that she is able to walk on her own and even run a little.

“I know she had told our strength coach in a text message that she was able to run for 30 seconds at a time,” Major said. “That was very exciting news because when I saw her last week, she was moving pretty slow. But that’s Victoria – always fighting and beating expectations.”

Middleton had a strong sophomore season in 2008-09, which was highlighted by an individual national runner-up finish in equitation on the flat, the best finish by a Gamecock last season. In team competition, Middleton went undefeated at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships. She went 11-1-1 on the year with two MVP rides to earn a No. 5 national seed before her amazing run to the championship round.