Video: Jockey injuries and mental health under spotlight


Concussion and spinal injuries headlined an international conference focused on the health and safety of jockeys in the racing industry.

The International Conference for the Health, Safety and Welfare of Jockeys (ICHSWJ), which had a forced Covid-19 hiatus, in late September at Auteuil Racecourse in Paris, was live-streamed. It was held in conjunction with the 57th International Conference of Horseracing Authorities and other meetings during Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend.

The International Conference for the Health, Safety and Welfare of Jockeys will look at concussion management, preventing spinal injuries, and rider mental health.
Image by H. Hach

The first presentation featured a review of the recent Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport and what it means for horseracing. Dr Jerry Hill, Chief Medical Adviser of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), and Dr Jennifer Pugh, Chief Medical Officer at the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), led the discussion on how the sport can provide consistency in concussion management across racing jurisdictions to deliver the best outcomes for jockeys amid increasing resource challenges and international movement of riders.

The next session focused on the analysis and prevention of spinal injuries to jockeys. Daloni Lucas, PhD Candidate at the Centre for Health, and Injury and Illness Prevention in Sport (CHi2PS) at the University of Bath, discussed the latest research in this area, in particular spinal injuries and the role body protectors play.

The third session examined the importance of mental health and the psychological fitness of riders. This presentation included looking at different mental health perspectives and how cultural risk factors can contribute to the development of mental health symptoms. Participants included Professor Duncan Law, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Changing Minds UK; Karen Lo, Sports Psychologist with Inner Edge in Hong Kong; and Sports Psychologist Dr Ciara Losty from the Irish Jockey Pathway.

A question-and-answer session followed each of the topics.

Following the presentations, recently retired third-generation jockey Tom Scudamore, who is a member of the Steering Committee, provided his reflections on the content and on the work of the ICHSWJ.

The ICHSWJ is one of the sub-committees of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA). Its mission has been to provide a forum to discuss and implement strategies to raise the standards of safety and the standards of care provided to jockeys. Its vision is to “create a safer and healthier everyday life for jockeys when they participate in the sport”.

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