Jockeys’ Guild calls on industry to “do more” for rider safety

by | Mar 27, 2018 | Breaking, Business, National news | 4 comments

Jockeys. Photo by Vas.

by Frank Vespe

In the wake of the death of jockey Jose Luis Flores, Jockeys’ Guild chairman John Velazquez, vice-chairman G. R. Carter, and national manager Terry Meyocks issued a statement today calling on the industry to “do more to protect the jockeys and exercise riders who risk their lives every day.”

Flores died last week after being injured in a fall during Monday’s racing action at Parx Racing.

The Guild’s statement calls on the industry to take a variety of steps. These include having paramedics on the track both during racing and training hours and adopting concussion protocols.

“Racing still remains one of the only sports, professional or amateur, that does not have concussion protocols in place, which is something that is at the forefront of our concerns,” the statement says.

Additionally, the riders would like to see a more robust industry-wide commitment to research into injuries, injury prevention, and safety equipment.

“It is absolutely vital the industry uses every mechanism possible to reduce injuries for both the equine and human athletes,” they said.

They also called for regulators to adopt and enforce model rules and regulations pertaining to safety.

“The industry, as a whole, must be committed to rider safety,” they wrote.

JOCKEYS’ GUILD STATEMENT

The Racing Industry needs to do more to protect the jockeys and exercise riders who risk their lives every day for our sport. Racetracks and state regulators need to ensure that there are proper medical personnel trained in trauma, most importantly having paramedics on the track (both during training and racing hours), & protocols in place at every single racetrack. Racing still remains one of the only sports, professional or amateur, that does not have concussion protocols in place, which is something that is at the forefront of our concerns. We are continuing to work to get with regulators and racetracks to address this issue. The Guild was instrumental in establishing the Jockey Injury Database (“JID”), an injury data collection vehicle. Unfortunately, this initiative has received little support from racetracks and regulators. Additionally, the Guild reached out to basically all Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse organizations to establish a research and development committee to determine if the equipment that is being used by jockeys and/or exercise riders is the safest possible. After the first year, financial commitment faded. It is absolutely vital the industry uses every mechanism possible to reduce injuries for both the equine and human athletes. This will in turn help owners, trainers, and racetracks lower the risk of liability and reduce the costs of insurance, as well as improving the public perception of our sport. Furthermore, regulators in each jurisdiction need to adopt the model rules pertaining to safety standards. It is also imperative that they are actually enforcing regulations that are currently in place. The industry, as a whole, must be committed to rider safety.

Signed,

John Velazquez, Chairman

G. R. Carter, Vice-Chairman

Terry Meyocks, National Manager

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