Objective: To determine the direct and indirect cost of injuries in professional jockeys as a result of race riding.
Design: Cohort study.
Setting: Professional horse racing.
Participants: Professional jockeys in the UK registered with the Jockey Club.
Main outcome measures: Payouts under the Professional Riders Insurance Scheme (PRIS) for injuries sustained by professional jockeys, which were recorded by the Jockey Club injury database between 1996 and 2006 inclusive.
Results: In the 11-year period of the study, there were 1328 injuries that resulted in jockeys missing a total of 71 509 days of racing, and as a result PRIS paid out £4 496 019 in compensation. Most injuries were minor, with a third of injured jockeys returning to race riding within 2 weeks and 45% of the claims receiving a payout of <£1000. Almost half the claims were due to fractures, with the clavicle being the most common site of injury. Joint dislocations accounted for the highest insurance payout and the longest time off racing.
Conclusions: Horse racing is a sport known to have a high risk of injury. This study has found that almost £4.5 million was spent on the injuries that were reported to PRIS during the 11-year time period 1996–2006. This study sheds light on the overall injury cost in professional horse racing and will form the basis for more formal health economic analysis.
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Competing interests: MT is employed by the Horseracing Regulatory Authority.