PENN NATIONAL TO IMPLEMENT CONCUSSION CARE PROGRAM
Penn National Race Course announced a new partnership with software company HeadCheck Health, Inc. (‘HeadCheck’) that will equip all staff with a customized system for optimizing concussion and injury management for jockeys within and between racetracks.
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Horse racing is a sport that comes with an inherent risk for jockeys. The industry also faces challenges in implementing concussion and injury protocols. There are different resources available at each track, no national overseeing body to mandate requirements, independent state commissions and rules, and a transitory workforce of jockeys.
Since 2019, HeadCheck has worked with various industry stakeholders, customizing the platform to solve many of these issues. Though the program took a backseat to challenges related to COVID-19, it’s been quietly continuing to adapt the system to be ready for expansion.
The journey so far has been marked by impressive collaboration and hard work between Dr. Kelly Ryan and the sports medicine team at MedStar Health, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Maryland Jockey Club, and Delaware Jockeys Health and Welfare Benefit Board.
“The implementation of the HeadCheck program by racetracks in the region is an important step toward protecting the health of jockeys,” said Aaron Gryder, Vice President, Industry Relations, 1/ST RACING. “As a retired jockey myself, I see the HeadCheck program as a key solution for elevating the standard of care by creating consistent medical and head-health monitoring for our athletes.”
HeadCheck is a secure HIPAA compliant system that will improve track management by allowing clear and immediate communication of suspected injuries and jockey health status. This program will help ensure nothing slips through the cracks and all jockeys receive appropriate care before returning to ride.
“We are proud to be joining this initiative and committed to the health and safety of our jockeys,” said Eric Johnston, Director of Racing Operations at Penn National Race Course.
HeadCheck’s goals align with the industry’s: provide a comprehensive system that will save time, reduce the risk of non-compliance to concussion and injury protocols, and improve outcomes for injured riders.