Ongoing drive to expand medical provisions for riders targets physiotherapy presence at all fixtures

14 Aug 2019 BHA Features Welfare

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) together with the Racecourse Association (RCA), Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) and Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) have today announced that over 90% of the remaining fixtures in 2019 will have physiotherapists present for riders.

The increased provision, which had previously seen around 60% of fixtures covered, is part of cross-industry efforts to improve medical facilities for riders and follows grant approval by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB).

It will mean the Racecourse Physiotherapy team, who in conjunction with other medical staff manage acute and chronic injuries while also providing advice on the prevention of long-term problems, will be present at around 1,350 fixtures across the year. The funding has also been used to purchase additional equipment.

It is hoped the provision will continue into 2020 and beyond, subject to further approval by the HBLB, with the ultimate ambition of having professional physiotherapists routinely at every fixture run under Rules in Great Britain.

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

“Physiotherapists are key members of the multi-disciplinary team in professional sport and it would be inconceivable not to have one present at any professional football or rugby game – racing will now be able to match other sports.

“The existing service has been jointly funded by the BHA, IJF, individual racecourses and the jockeys themselves and is an essential part of raceday provision preparing our athletes to perform and treating injuries.

“Thanks must go to the Levy Board for the additional funding and we hope to be able to continue the good work in 2020 maintaining professional physiotherapy support at every fixture in British Racing.”

Caroline Davies, Racecourse Services Director at the RCA, said:

“The RCA would like to thank the Levy Board for providing additional funds to allow the expansion of the on-course physiotherapy service. The welfare of participants, both human and equine, is of the utmost importance. We are hopeful that the service can be continued across all courses at all fixtures in the future.”

Izzy Desailly, Commercial and Membership Manager at the PJA, said:

“This is excellent news for our flat members, who I am sure will be thrilled that they are soon to have a full coverage of physio provision on the racecourse.  The Jockeys Injury Management Team is one of their most valued support services and we thank Dr Hill and the Levy Board for securing and providing the funding to expand the service in this way.”

Lisa Hancock, Chief Executive of the IJF, said:

“The JIM team have provided a fantastic service on the courses for many years and its timely that the coverage has been extended. We find that this immediate care links in really well to our Rehab Centres where the physio provision can be continued.”

Notes to editors:

1. In addition to the physiotherapists, at least two racecourse medical officers (three for Jump racing), one nurse and two ambulance crews (three for Jump racing) must be present for fixtures to take place.

2. The c.1000 fixtures previously covered constituted every Jump fixture and around roughly half of all Flat fixtures.

3. The Jockey Injury Management team is also funded by the BHA, IJF, PJA and contributions from Racecourses.