Versus Arthritis Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis
University of Nottingham

Researchers are odds-on favourites to reduce injury risk for jockeys

Published by Arthritis Research UK on 25 August 2015

Our researchers at the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis have been awarded funding from the Racing Foundation for a major new study into the health of jockeys. 

The three-year-year research grant of £222,417 has been awarded to a team at the Oxford University site of the centre. 

The research team will look at the bone density and muscle mass of riders, and investigate how this links to fall rate, severity of injuries, the occurrence of osteoarthritis and overall impact on general health. 

Dr Julia Newton, principal investigator for the research and consultant rheumatologist at the Oxford centre, said: “Our team is really looking forward to working with The Racing Foundation and the racing community to better understand how we can improve the short and long term health of jockeys and stable staff. 

“This grant provides us the opportunity to answer fundamental questions around risk factors for injury and poor long term health. 

“Our centre’s aim, and that of Arthritis Research UK, is to understand the relationship between sports injuries and the development of osteoarthritis – not just in elite athletes but in all people who sport recreationally all levels – and to reduce the impact of these injuries." 

Supported by the racing industry, the research will be conducted in collaboration with the British Horseracing Authority. A significant aim of the research is to provide practical information that can be used to guide advice and reduce injury risk. 

Research will be carried out on jockeys, with support from the Professional Jockeys Association and the Injured Jockeys’ Fund. The outputs and findings will also be applicable to the wider racing community, especially stable staff who ride-out, so the National Association of Stud and Stable Staff will form part of the steering group. 

Dr Jerry Hill, chief medical advisor for the BHA, said: “As an industry we are totally committed to the health, well-being and safety of jockeys and stable staff and are continually ensuring they are as well-equipped as possible to cope with the demands of their job. Thanks to the Racing Foundation grant and the expertise of the research team we are now able to study body composition and bone density to see how it impacts fall and injury risk and use the findings to guide advice and future regulation. 

“The findings of the research could, in particular, help further develop injury and rehabilitation services and enable us to recommend fitness and training regimes to ensure riders are prepared for careers as elite athletes in a sport with a significant risk of injury.” 

The Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis is made up of a consortium of the most eminent researchers in this field and was set up with grants from Arthritis Research UK and seven participating universities. 

It focuses on understanding the effects of sport and exercise on joint injury and osteoarthritis by using its research to pioneer developments in the prevention, assessment and treatment of injury. 

The Racing Foundation is a body that oversees the distribution of proceeds from the sale of the Tote within the racing industry.

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Posted on Tuesday 25th August 2015