Conference explores jockey safety and health

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Denis Egan
Denis Egan

The latest developments in medical and technological research that may improve the welfare, health and safety of jockeys are being presented at an international conference in New Jersey this weekend.

The conference, organized by the European Racing Medical Officers Group and administered under the auspices of the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities, is being held at Monmouth Park racecourse at Oceanport.

“The impetus for this is that jockeys keep getting bigger and bigger and they often undertake well-documented and drastic measures to reduce,” said Denis Egan, head of the Irish Turf Club, who was instrumental in setting the agenda.

“The result is that these measures result in serious health issues for them later in life and we are trying to improve their lives.

“There are all kinds of conferences about the welfare of the horse that are held around the world, but this is the only one that is for the riders.”

More than 50 nutritionists, medical doctors, researchers, administrators, and other health care professionals who specialize in this area will present their findings to racing industry representatives from around the globe.

This year’s conference is the fourth of its kind and the first in the US following the previous meetings in Japan, Turkey and Dubai.

Egan said that the agenda items include research on nutrition, concussions, trauma protocol, race day falls, and safety equipment, plus updates from each of the countries represented on special issues relative to the individual jurisdiction.

The national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, Terry Meyocks, said: “I think this is great and it is incredibly important that the riders and other professionals in the sport keep abreast of all of the latest information available on all of these subjects.

“The information that will be presented, especially on getting safer equipment – whether that be helmets, vests or any of the rest – is vital not only for jockeys but for exercise riders as well.”

Dr Angelo Chinnici, the medical director of Monmouth Park and the Guild and an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey, was instrumental in bringing the conference to Monmouth Park.

“They called and asked me to be a speaker at the conference, which was originally scheduled for a hotel in Philadelphia,” Chinnici said.

“I suggested that they come to the track and they accepted.”

 

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