The University of Kentucky (UK) and the Jockeys’ Guild have announced a three-year pilot study, supported by a broad cross-section of Thoroughbred organizations, designed to evolve into the first comprehensive concussion management protocol for jockeys.
Carl Mattacola, PhD, ATC, FNATA, the director of the Graduate Athletic Training Program and a professor in the UK College of Health Sciences, will oversee the study at all of Kentucky’s Thoroughbred racetracks: Turfway Park, in Florence; Keeneland Race Course, in Lexington; Churchill Downs, in Louisville; Ellis Park, in Henderson; and Kentucky Downs, in Franklin. It is scheduled to begin this summer.
“We want to give the jockeys who suffer head injuries the best science has to offer, and an important first step towards that goal is to generate data from which an appropriate management protocol can be developed,” said Mattacola. “This project will leverage the full resources and knowledge base of UK’s Sports Medicine Research Institute and the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center to help create the first national protocol for concussion management in jockeys.”
For the study, jockeys will undergo a sport concussion assessment tool (SCAT 3) test to develop a baseline score so that pre- and post-fall responses can be compared. The SCAT3 is an instrument used to assess signs/symptoms and physical and cognitive function for concussion. A specialized health care provider trained in concussion assessment and sport injury will be available at each track to perform the assessments.
Mattacola said the jockeys will be required to have an active account w