Brain rattle from riding a concussion concern for jockeys
CONCUSSIONS caused by the rattling of jockeys’ brains while riding is set to be examined and tracked by the same neuropsychologist who aims to change rugby league players’ lives.
The National Jockeys’ Trust is set to advance discussions with Australia’s only concussion clinic in Newcastle, by touring the facility where Dr Andrew Gardner and Professor Christoper Levi have assessed 150 athletes. Gardner is in the US comparing concussion data from rugby league players with their NFL counterparts.
Similar analysis would be obtained from jockeys, who suffer significant concussion issues. Race falls are one of the most common causes of concussion for jockeys. However, NJT manager Bob Whyburn said the simple act of riding was also a major cause for alarm.
“We’re really concerned about concussion,’’ Whyburn said. “Not just falling off and hitting your head, but the action of riding a horse — it rattles the brain. I’m going to go to Newcastle and meet with some people there and talk to them about what they’re doing with concussion in sport and whether we can partner with them and do some case studies.
“If we can get younger jockeys coming through and then the doctors following them with scans through their lives, that’s the way we need to do it.
“It’s something we’ve been working on, but we’re really going to double our effort.”
In NSW, riders must pass an annual cognitive test and are required to visit a neurophysician if there are any concerns. The concussion clinic would allow every jockey to have their con- cussion data, and the many variables which make up a person’s health on file.
Champion jockeys Hugh Bowman, Michelle Payne and Dale Spriggs have all recently battled with concussion cases.
So severe was Payne’s concussion after a fall in 2016 that she had to Google her name to remind herself that she had become the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup only seven months earlier.
Michelle Payne after a fall at Mildura in 2016.