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Conference at Monmouth Park to Address Jockeys’ Health and Safety

jockey conference
The International Conference on Jockeys’ Health, Safety and Welfare is being held this weekend at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

The latest developments in medical and technological research that may improve the welfare, health and safety of jockeys is being presented over the next two days.

The conference is organized by the European Racing Medical Officers Group and will be administered under the auspices of the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities.

“The impetus for this is that jockeys keep getting bigger and bigger and they often undertake well-documented and drastic measures to reduce,” said Denis Egan, head of the Irish Turf Club, who was instrumental in setting the agenda. “The result is that these measures result in serious health issues for them later in life and we are trying to improve their lives. There are all kinds of conferences about the welfare of the horse that are held around the world, but this is the only one that is for the riders.”

More than 50 nutritionists, medical doctors, researchers, administrators, and other health care professionals who specialize in this area will present their findings to racing industry representatives from around the Globe.

This year’s conference is the fourth of its kind and the first in America following the previous meetings in Japan, Turkey and Dubai. Egan said that the agenda items include research on nutrition, concussions, trauma protocol, race day falls, and safety equipment, plus updates from each of the countries represented on special issues relative to the individual jurisdiction.

“I think this is great and it is incredibly important that the riders and other professionals in the sport keep abreast of all of the latest information available on all of these subjects,” said Terry Meyocks, the national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “Joe Johnston (the regional manager representing the riders in Monmouth’s jokey colony) went to the conference in Dubai and he thought it was outstanding. The information that will be presented, especially on getting safer equipment whether that be helmets, vests or any of the rest, is vital not only for jockeys but for exercise riders as well.”

Dr. Angelo Chinnici, the medical director of Monmouth Park and the Guild and an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey, was instrumental in bringing the conference to Monmouth Park.

“They called and asked me to be a speaker at the conference, which was originally scheduled for a hotel in Philadelphia,” Dr. Chinnici said. “I suggested that they come to the track and they accepted. Darby Racing LLC welcomes the opportunity to network with health care professionals involved in the racing industry from around the world. This year’s conference will be excellent. I believe that this is the first time in the history of Monmouth Park that professionals of this caliber have been sought out for such a unique opportunity.”

The two-day conference coincides with live racing at Monmouth so that the local jockey colony, as well as any other riders, may attend. The Saturday morning session is restricted to jockeys, but other sessions are open to all licensed professionals in the sport and there is no registration fee.
“The issues being addressed benefit everyone, not only the jockeys but their families, too,” said Meyocks, who plans to attend along with Johnston. “This conference is a win-win for everyone, and that includes horsemen and the racetracks.”

–Monmouth Park Publicity

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo