Dave Crosse: opening up over diabetes is a weight off my shoulders
Jockey Dave Crosse said a weight had been lifted off his shoulders after he decided to reveal he is diabetic, having kept the illness a secret for 13 years out of fears for his career.
Last week Crosse, 35, was fined £250 by a BHA disciplinary panel for breaching rules requiring licensed jockeys to disclose any illness or condition to the regulator.
The jockey has been receiving specialist medical advice since he was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes in 2005, but he chose not to disclose the information to the BHA, believing it would have been "professional suicide".
However, he became the subject of a BHA investigation after the authority received an anonymous tip-off about Crosse's condition, claiming he was a danger to others, leading to a BHA inquiry at which he received an entry-level penalty.
"The BHA was sympathetic," said Crosse. "The rules changed just under a year ago and the fact I've had proper medical care and looked after myself were key factors. It's a weight off my shoulders. I don't have to hide to inject myself.
"If anything, it makes me better as a rider. It's not a career-ending illness. I can lead a normal life as long as I look after things properly."
Former Martin Pipe stalwart Jonathan Lower was stopped from riding before eventually winning a battle with the Jockey Club to become the first diagnosed diabetic to ride in Britain, but under restrictions that limited the number of rides he could take. This was owing to the difficulty of returning elevated blood sugar readings to acceptable levels between races.
Point-to-point rider Hector Barr was issued a licence without restriction last year following improvements in the understanding and management of the condition.
Although Crosse made sure select people knew of his condition so it could be disclosed in the event of a bad fall, he hid the fact he was injecting himself with insulin at the races, doing it under a towel or in the toilets. He has been advised throughout by specialist Dr Ian Gallen and his GP Dr Philip Pritchard.
"The way the BHA has dealt with my case means if there are others like me they can come forward knowing that nothing bad is going to happen," said Crosse, who is also a jockey coach.
"That's what I'd feared for the last 13 years, that this would come out and my career would be finished. It all depends on how you look after your diabetes."
BHA spokesman Joe Rendall said: "One of the most significant factors from our point of view was that David had managed his condition safely and sensibly, in conjunction with his medical advisers.
"While the BHA should have been made aware earlier, and this was a clear breach of the rules, there was no medical evidence that David put himself or anyone else in danger when riding during this period.
"As such, we felt an entry level fine of £250 was appropriate. This has been confirmed by the judicial panel chairman."
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