Daniel Martin appointed to first Jockey Nutrition and Welfare PhD

29 Sep 2015 Education/Training Welfare
  • Three-year PhD designed to improve understanding of the nutrition and wellbeing needs of the jockey as an athlete
  • Objective of creating a comprehensive education package on good health and nutritional practices for jockeys
  • Daniel Martin is a member of Professional Jockeys Association nutrition team

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), in association with the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), are pleased to announce that Daniel Martin has been appointed as the first incumbent of the new Jockey Nutrition and Welfare PhD.

The PhD is co-funded by the BHA and LJMU and will ensure the availability of scientific, robust evidence into the physiology and health of jockeys as well as their nutritional awareness and practices. The intention is to use the findings of the study to create a comprehensive education package on good health and nutritional practices that can be used to support jockeys’ wellbeing and long-term fitness.

Daniel Martin is currently a member of the PJA’s Nutrition team, as well as a Lecturer of Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition and Head of Higher Education (Foundation Degrees and BSc Hons courses) for Sport Programmes at Wakefield College, in partnership with Teesside University. He is also a consultant as a Performance Nutritionist for several professional sports teams including in Rugby League (Wakefield Wildcats 2010-15; York City Knights 2011-present), British Athletics and England Hockey. He is based in West Yorkshire and delivers nutrition education and cookery workshops to the jockeys at Northern Racing College, Oaksey and Jack Berry House rehab centres, and racecourses up and down the country.

The PhD commences in October and is a full-time role which will last three years, based at LJMU’s Sport and Exercise Sciences department, however Daniel will continue to be part of the PJA’s nutrition team while involved in the PhD.

Dr Jerry Hill, Chief Medical Adviser to the BHA, said:

“We are delighted to have appointed someone of Daniel’s calibre to this extremely important new role for the industry. Daniel was the stand out candidate from over 40 approaches which we received both from both domestic and international applicants.

“The PhD is an exciting opportunity to increase the level of knowledge we have about the jockey as an athlete, and start to bring us into line with other modern, mainstream sports. Horseracing brings with it many physical and psychological challenges for our jockeys, the more we know about their needs the more we can do to help them face those challenges.”

Dr Rebecca Murphy, LJMU Subject Head: Applied Sport and Exercise Sciences, said:

“The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at LJMU is very much looking forward to working in partnership with the BHA to support Daniel Martin through this programme of research. Whilst building upon the fundamental research that has already been conducted by LJMU, the results from this thesis have potential to benefit jockeys throughout the world. Consideration of educational practice alongside factors that determine behaviour change in jockeys will optimise our opportunity to influence nutritional practice in this population.”

The PhD will:

  • Assess the physical and mental health of trainee jockeys in the first week at training college to identify if the adverse effects are apparent before the jockeys begin their weight-making lifestyle.
  • Develop and assess the effectiveness of a nutritional education package to be delivered at the racing schools alongside social media packages to educate the jockeys.
  • Redevelop the food provision at racecourses in the UK and to assess the effectiveness of this change on nutritional behaviour and the health of the jockeys.

The education package will be built on current provision and be produced in partnership with the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme (JETS) Racecourse Association (RCA) and both the Northern Racing College and British Racing School.

Daniel Martin said:

“I’m delighted with my appointment at LJMU. I believe my experience in both education and history of working with jockeys as a Performance Nutritionist with the PJA compliment the outcomes of the PhD very well. I’m certainly excited about getting started and working as a part of  the LJMU research team towards improving jockey health and performance.”

Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of the PJA, said:

“We’re delighted Daniel was successful in his application.  His success highlights the skills within and work of the PJA’s Nutrition Team and will help forge closer working relationships between ourselves and LJMU. This PhD position, combined with the ongoing work on the strategy for jockey training, and the enhancements to the role of JETS and services it will provide, make this a very exciting time for jockey training and welfare.”

Notes to Editors

1. More details about the launch of the PhD can be found here: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/press_releases/jockey-health-and-nutrition-education-to-be-subject-of-major-new-racing-phd/

2. The PJA Nutrition team currently comprises Julia Scott Douglas, Rhiannon Britton and Daniel Martin. Their role is to provide regular guidance, support and advice to PJA Members. This includes:

  • The production of Fuelling Winners, the jockeys guide to healthy eating and easy cooking- a third edition will be published this year
  • Regular and ongoing advice and support for PJA members through http://www.thepja.co.uk/members-info/nutrition/ and via Twitter @NutritionPJA
  • Involvement in educating jockeys about the importance of good nutrition habits, at Racing Schools and as part of the Injured Jockeys Fund academy

Working with racecourses to improve the on-course provision to jockeys