It’s been a long time coming, but the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) has announced that the majority of racing fixtures throughout the remainder of 2019, will require the presence of physiotherapists.
The move is backed by the RCA (Racecourse Association), as well as the PJA (Professional Jockeys Association), who hope that this will bring improved outcomes for jockeys requiring medical attention following a race.
The move is intended to provide physiotherapy facilities at more than 90% of scheduled racing fixtures, increasing it from its former 60% level. It follows attempts by all of the major racing bodies to improve and enhance the medical provisions for jockeys at race meetings and is supported by grants from the HBLB (Horserace Betting Levy Board).
The intention is for the physiotherapy provision to continue into next year and hopefully to become part of the racing rulebook. However, this will require further approval from HBLB. But the objective is to ensure that every jockey has access to a qualified professional physiotherapist at every racing fixture throughout the UK.
It’s anticipated that racecourse physiotherapy professionals will put in an appearance at over 1,300 racing fixtures a year.
They will work alongside other medical professionals at each race meeting, helping to treat both chronic and acute injuries, as well as offering preventative advice to enable jockeys to avoid problems in the future.
The Chief Medical Adviser for the British Horseracing Authority, Dr Jerry Hill, has expressed his thanks to the HBLB for the additional funding, some of which is to put towards new equipment for the physiotherapy teams.
He spoke of the importance of physiotherapists as an important aspect of many professional sports fixtures, such as rugby and football, and hoped that they would now be viewed as being an essential part of racing too.
According to the new racing rules, two medical officers must be present at all flat meets, with three being required to attend jump racing. Additionally, one nurse must also be present, together with two ambulance crews for flat races and three ambulance crews for jump races.
They will now be joined by physiotherapists at all remaining race meeting this year.