Injuries outside of horseracing: is it time to focus on injury prevention of jockeys outside of races?

Siobhán O’Connor, Giles Warrington, Shane O’Brien, Elaine McDermott, Adrian McGoldrick, Jennifer Pugh, Sarah Jane Cullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Falls and injuries are frequent in professional horseracing. However, professional jockeys spend a large part of their week in horse-related activities outside of racing such as schooling, exercise riding, and yard-related activities. The injury risk related to these activities remains largely unknown internationally. This study aimed to identify the injury prevalence and injury profile of flat and jump jockeys during non-racing activities. Methods: In total 45.6% and 38.5% of all licensed Irish professional flat and jump jockeys completed a cross-sectional self-recall questionnaire examining injuries that occurred outside of racing during 2018. Injury proportion, repeat incidence proportion, and descriptive statistics were calculated. Results: Fifteen percent of professional jockeys sustained an injury outside of a race, half of those injured receiving at least another injury in 2018 and 66.52 injuries per 1,000 falls were noted. Injuries frequently occurred to the upper limb (36.67%), with fractures common (32.00%). Most injuries occurred due to a fall (60.00%) and 77.27% occurred in the gallops. Half of injuries resulted in the jockey missing racing, with 31.00 ± 47.18 (4–180) days lost on average. Twenty-three percent of jockeys attended hospital and 16.67% required surgery due to injury. Interestingly, just under a third did not report their injury to anyone. Conclusion: Injuries to professional jockeys, whilst not as frequent outside of racing, tend to be serious and can affect jockeys financially and impact their availability to ride. Prioritizing injury prevention strategies to maximize availability of jockeys to race is important. Education on the importance of reporting all injuries regardless of where they occur is important to ensure their management and rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
JournalPhysician and Sportsmedicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • flat racing
  • injury surveillance
  • Jockey
  • jump racing
  • national hunt


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