The Jockeys’ Guild April 4 announced the creation of the Jockey Injury Database, a new program aimed at preventing rider injuries in the future.
The Jockey Injury Database will collect information on jockey injuries at racetracks, including where, when, and how injuries occurred, what type of equipment riders were wearing at the time, and the nature and severity of the injuries.
When a jockey injury occurs, the information will be gathered confidentially by medical personnel at racetracks, as well as by Guild representatives, and then entered into a database to be analyzed at a later date. In the database, jockeys will not be identified by name nor will the tracks where incidents occur.
“We constantly work with tracks and the industry to ensure the safety of jockeys,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, in a release. “This program was first conceived at the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit and it has been in the works for several years. We are thrilled to see it come to fruition. Its goal is to find ways to reduce racing injuries and create a safer racing environment.”
The new data collection system has been created with the assistance of Keeneland, The Jockey Club, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance.
Keeneland will be the first racetrack in the country to start collecting the data and will do so when the spring meet begins April 6.
“Once we are comfortable with the process, we will be sending information packets to each racetrack further explaining the goals and design of the project while encouraging their participation,” said Meyocks.
As data is collected, it will be analyzed for trends. There is no cost to tracks to participate in this project, and those providing data will be recognized when the analysis is ultimately published in the medical literature.
“This prospective collection of information will allow us to better evaluate rider safety equipment, racetrack surface type, first-responder options, and a host of variables just as other professional sports do on behalf of their athletes both in the U.S. and abroad," said Dr. Barry Schumer, Keeneland medical director and co-creator of the program, in a statement.
Added Nick Nicholson, president and chief executive officer of Keeneland in a statement: "Thoroughbred racing owes Dr. Schumer a tremendous debt of gratitude for his many hours of dedication to this project and the industry.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance will advocate participation in the Jockey Injury Database when tracks seek accreditation in the alliance.
“Anything we can learn from accidents that happen on the racetrack to help improve the safety for our human and equine athletes is a plus for the sport, said Mike Ziegler, executive director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. “We will encourage tracks applying for accreditation to participate in the database.”
The Jockey Club and The Jockey Club Technology Services provided complimentary software development in the creation of the Jockey Injury Database as a service to the industry. Data collection and analysis will be performed by a research team from the University of Kentucky headed by Drs. Christian Lattermann and Carl Mattacola from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.