Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Concussion characteristics in horse racing
  1. Carl G Mattacola1,
  2. Dong (Dan) Y Han2,3,4,5,
  3. Jed Crots1,
  4. Amanda Glueck3,
  5. John Abt3,
  6. Nick Heebner3
  1. 1University of Kentucky, College of Health Sciences, Lexington, KY
  2. 2Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY
  3. 3Sports Medicine Research Institute, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY
  4. 4Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY
  5. 5Saddle Up Safely Executive Committee, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY


Objective To describe characteristics and modifiable factors in jockeys who have sustained a concussion for the purpose of identifying areas for risk reduction and improved safety.

Setting Direct from field; descriptive epidemiology study.

Patients or other participants Data were obtained from the Jockey Injury Database from years 2012 to 2016.

Interventions Data were collected from Horse Racetracks in the United States.

Main outcome measures Descriptive statistics were used to identify frequency and percentages based on gender, helmet type, track, jockey experience, location of track, size of field, horse gender, track condition & distance.

Results There were 36 reported concussions during this period. 29 males and 7 females sustained a concussion. Helmet type was distributed evenly with more concussions occurring with LAS helmets. The majority occurred on dirt (27/66%) versus synthetic surfaces (9/8%). Injury rates were higher (21/58%) in less experienced jockeys (<6 years’ experiences) versus more experienced jockeys (13/36%) (>11 years’ experience). More concussions were identified in the last turn/stretch (21/58%) than the beginning of the race (12/33%). More injuries (23/64%) were identified in fields greater than 8 horses than fields of less than 7 horses (12/33%). More concussions occurred in fast/firm conditions (28/78%) than sloppy/muddy/good (4/11%). More concussions were present in races that were 5,6, &7 furlongs (18/50%) versus more than 1 mile in length (12/33%).

Conclusions The results of this research establish injury characteristics that can be used to better understand equipment and conditions that contribute to increased risk of concussion.

Competing interests None.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.