Media Release 29 April 2014
The Australian Racing Board (ARB) has welcomed the release today of a landmark report into jockeys’ riding vests. The “Evaluation of Safety Vests – Health and Safety in Australian Racing” report was a two year collaboration between the ARB and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).
In releasing the report today, ARB CEO Peter McGauran said that jockeys benefited from wearing the vest but improvements in its design were needed.
“This is likely to be the first major study into vests anywhere in the world in the past twenty years. The report demonstrates the overall benefit of the vest despite claims that it constrains a jockey in a fall. However, it is equally important not to overstate the level of protection a vest can provide.” Mr McGauran said.
“Essentially the vest significantly reduces less severe injuries such as sprains and strains in the region the vest covers, being chest, back and ribs.”
“Concerningly, the research data reveals an increase in neck and back fractures in recent years. Review of race day video footage revealed that most of these types of injuries were indirectly caused by the rider taking a forward dive into the track with the head hitting the turf. Racing authorities will further consider this aspect of the report’s findings.” Mr McGauran said.
The report has led to the following initiatives by the ARB:
1. An assessment of new and heavier vests offering a higher level of protection for track work riding where weight is not as much a determinant as in race riding;
2. An examination of whether the panel covering the spinal column could be improved to offer a higher level of protection in the vest; and
3. Implementation of a new quality assurance surveillance system to ensure vests are continuing to meet the safety standard as defined in the Australian Rules of Racing.
“I congratulate and thank the report’s principal author Dr Caroline Foote for her important contribution to the safety of jockeys.” Mr McGauran concluded.
The report is available for download from the RIRDC website: www.rirdc.gov.au
End Media Release
For further information:
Peter McGauran, Chief Executive, 0408 483 491