Group hopes to track jockey injuries

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

At present, the horse racing industry maintains a database of horse injuries and deaths, yet does not afford the human athletes that ride them the same courtesy. The (Louisville) Courier-Journal‘s Gregory Hall reports that there may finally be some momentum to change that, given talks at the “Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit” – the same event at which such a database was first proposed several years ago.

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Photo by j/k_lolz via Flickr

The original summit in 2006 made a similar recommendation to create a human injury database, which was paired with the recommendation that led to the Equine Injury Database, which now receives reports from 86 racetracks. Those racetracks represent more than four-fifths of thoroughbred flat races and all steeplechase races.

Gathering statistics on the timing, nature and cause of the injuries would be a huge step toward increasing jockey safety.

According to Jockeys’ Guild statistics, 128 riders have died since 1940 from injuries suffered on racetracks in the United States, The Courier-Journal reported in April. Currently, about 60 riders who suffered brain or spinal-cord injuries receive modest aid from the racing industry’s Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Just this week, two jockeys were injured during racing at a Tulsa, Okla., track – one suffered a broken neck.

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