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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

New measures to assist the management of concussion

Lizzy Kelly parts company with Tea For Two during the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup
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A hard-hitting poster campaign and a new baseline testing regime are just two of the new initiatives announced by the BHA as part of ongoing efforts to ensure the sport rigorously updates its standards over head injuries. 

In conjunction with the Professional Jockeys Association, the Injured Jockeys Fund and the Racecourse Association, the BHA will introduce a raft of enhancements to its current standards and procedures, under the umbrella principles of education, regulation and research. 

"Concussion management is one of the major issues facing world sport at present," said the BHA's chief medical officer, Dr Jerry Hill. "While British racing has for some time been a pioneer on this topic, I am determined that we remain at the forefront of scientific research, education and regulation when it comes to this crucial issue." 

Dr Jerry Hill is determined the BHA remains at the forefront of work on concussion management in sport

The BHA and the PJA, along with the Headway charity, have worked together on a campaign under the title 'If in doubt, sit it out', designed to arm jockeys with practical information as to the signs to look for in terms of concussion after a fall. 

The posters feature striking images of falls suffered by Martin Dwyer, Lizzie Kelly and Richard Johnson.

Peter McCabe, chief executive of the brain injury association Headway, said: "We're delighted to be able to work with the horseracing authorities as part of our Concussion Aware campaign. It is vital jockeys have a greater understanding and awareness of concussion, including how to identify it and the appropriate action to take."

'It will save time and expense'

Under the regulation heading of the measures, the BHA is to replace the current yearly baseline tests, which are digital-only, bringing in a more rigorous version of the Cogsport neuro-psychological screening. 

In addition the on-site concussion protocols used by medical teams at racetracks have been revised to the latest Scat5 standard.

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the PJA, said: "it's important that the screening for concussion is based on the latest advice, and while the changes to the baseline testing will make the test a little longer it will save jockeys both time and expense when compared to the annual test."

The BHA and the British Equine Trade Association are to extend their Helmet Bounty scheme, which offers retail vouchers towards the cost of new equipment after a helmet is damaged in a fall.

The returned helmets will now be sent to University College Dublin, where research is already ongoing in conjunction with the Turf Club and British Eventing. 

Concussion management is one of the major issues facing world sport at present
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