Study to probe the health consequences of being a jockey

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What are the short- and long-term health consequences of being a jockey in Britain?
What are the short- and long-term health consequences of being a jockey in Britain?

Researchers hope to learn more about the short-term and long-term health consequences of being a jockey in a study being carried out in Britain.

The study is a three-year collaborative venture between Oxford University and the racing industry. It has been made possible by a grant of more than £220,000 from the Racing Foundation.

The first part of the study will examine injuries sustained by professional jockeys during their careers. So far, 82 retired National Hunt (jumps) jockeys and 43 retired flat-racing jockeys have filled in questionnaires for use by the research team.

The study, which also has the support of the British Horseracing Authority, Professional Jockey Association and the Injured Jockeys Fund, has the ultimate aim of improving the health and welfare of jockeys and stable staff who ride-out. The findings, it is hoped, will help the industry develop new strategies to support the health, well-being and safety of jockeys and stable staff.

“We know that racing is a high risk sport so understanding both the risks for injury in current jockeys and the long-term problems in retired jockeys is incredibly important,”said former five-time British Champion jockey Willie Carson, who is a racing ambassador for the study. “This research will really improve our knowledge and help racing to look after its jockeys.”

Professional Jockeys Association executive director for racing Dale Gibson said it was hoped that as many retired British jockeys as possible would come forward to help the researchers assess the nature of injuries sustained in their careers.

“This information will form a crucial part of the overall study and will enable us to identify ways of reducing injury risk for those who participate in our sport and ensure they are as well-equipped as possible to cope with the physical demands of their job.”

The questionnaire is available in hard copy, online or can even be completed over the phone. Retired British jockeys seeking more information can call 01865 233407 or 07470 911037 or by email thejockeystudy@ndorms.ox.ac.uk.

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