The British Horseracing Board will continue its contribution towards the newly named Jockeys Injury Management Team (JIM team) scheme for jockeys in 2007 as part of the development of funding principles for the full range of lifestyle and welfare services within the sport.
There are currently 22 racecourses that self-fund physiotherapy at some or all of their fixtures, and the £35,000 BHB contribution will ensure that the service can operate at a further 14 racecourses. In tandem with BHB’s contribution, the Jockeys Association of Great Britain (JAGB) has recently recruited five highly qualified physiotherapists with experience in other sports to add to the existing team of three that tour regularly around the country.
At the same time, the BHB Board has also endorsed the principle that Racing’s governing body should play a leading role in developing a framework for the provision of a range of services for the sport’s participants.
BHB co-ordinated a Lifestyle and Welfare Forum in May 2006, from which a smaller sub-group has been taking forward a number of the issues raised. A report on priorities and potential funding mechanisms will be presented to the Board in 2007. Among the items being considered are:
• Education and training for young jockeys
• Additional weight management and nutrition advice
• The Jockeys Employment Training Scheme (JETS) to work with jockeys earlier in their careers
• Racing Schools to provide more ‘life skills’ courses and training
• Greater co-ordination of current expenditure on activities by various industry organisations
• Expansion of physiotherapy services nationwide and better medical support and advice network for jockeys
BHB Acting Chief Executive Chris Brand said: “At present there is no long-term strategy with regard to the welfare of the sport’s participants. Irrespective of funding considerations, it would benefit the sport to take a more holistic approach towards issues that contribute to the overall wellbeing of British Racing.
“The service provided by the JIM team is such an example – although the jockey derives the immediate benefit, owners, trainers and the sport generally are better off from jockeys being able to ride more often and more effectively.”
JAGB Chief Executive John Blake said: “The Welfare Forum has broken new ground in uniting a cross section of the industry on the real need and overall benefit of directed welfare support.
“The continuation of the physiotherapy funding is an important step in offering a partial service, but we now need to push on and develop this area quickly and those others identified to make some meaningful changes to how racing supports the health and wellbeing of jockeys and the wider workforce.”