Racing takes heavy toll

A COMPREHENSIVE study into health and safety of Australian jockeys and track riders was released yesterday by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).

The report included a review of commonly used jockey helmets, a survey of jockeys’ safety equipment and a gathering of information on jockey injuries. A key outcome of the research was the development of a jockey helmet prototype that may offer jockeys greater protection from head injuries resulting from falls.

Researcher Keith Bulloch from Racing NSW said improving jockey safety was an ongoing priority for the racing industry, which has the National Jockey Safety Committee reviewing a range of safety issues.

“The risk factors associated with horse riding are significant,” he said. Mr Bulloch said the research found fractures and sprains were the most common injuries and injuries to the shoulder and upper/lower limbs contribute to approximately 60% of the injuries reported in insurance claims. The total injury rate for NSW was 0.17% or approximately one injury every 500 starts and barrier injuries accounted for more than a quarter of all injuries.

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