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Horse Jockeys Are Not Without Risk of Injury Much the Same as the Horses They Ride

We already have been enjoying horse racing for a while now at the Sunland Downs horse race tracking. It is also the start of the 2022 Triple Crown horse races with the running of the Kentucky Derby complete. May 21st is the Preakness Stakes and then completing the Triple Crown races is the Belmont Stakes on June 11th. The jockeys are training long and hard for the wins. That training and the races themselves are hard on them.

Jockeys have many risks for injuries in this sport. Take for example, Randy Meier, a leading race jockey who won more than 4,000 races before a traumatic brain injury forced him to retire. Over the course of his 38-year-career, Meier broke more than 50 bones in his body. He once broke both of his legs in a single race requiring rod surgically in his upper leg.

Rich Strike was the winner of this year's Kentucky Derby, but he won't be continuing on to the Preakness Stakes but may show to the final race, Belmont Stakes. A suspension due to "careless racing" by the jockey has been impemented. These suspension protect both the horses and the jockeys and are given to prevent serious injuries.

Common jockey injuries include fractures, dislocations, and concussions. The legs, shoulders and arms are the most injured extremities common among jockeys, mostly due to falls but also due to the excitement of the horse coming out of the gates and slamming the legs of the jockey against the railing. Broken collarbones are common when jockeys get thrown from a horse. Arm injuries are also very common from landing improperly when thrown.

The position in which a jockey rides also contributes to injury. Jockeys do not sit on the horse in a saddle. They use their legs for gripping, stability, and balance. This forces them into a forward lean, creating forceful joint loading and impact loading unlike any other sport.

Jockeys are said to be paid the lowest of all professional athletes but have the highest risk for injury. The top 5 of those again are concussion, crushed leg, clavical fracture, spinal injury and arm injury.