Licenced jump and point-to-point jockeys have been requested to participate in an academic study on concussions by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).
The research is being conducted by the University of Bath as part of a wider project entitled ‘investigating vestibular-oculomotor functions following sports-related concussions’.
Researchers will examine the impact of falls on the head and body and the negative impacts which include dizziness, balance problems and difficulty with head-eye coordination.
The BHA has requested the participation of jump and P2P jockeys in the research, stating that “concussion is recognised as the third most common injury in horseracing”.
“The research will explore whether Neuroflex virtual reality headsets could be used alongside existing assessment and rehabilitation techniques to improve the way British racing tests head-eye coordination and supports recovery following concussion,” read the BHA’s statement.
The University of Bath has launched a ‘research homepage’ for licensed jockeys to register their interest in participating in its sports concussion project.
Concussions have become a common talking point concerning health and safety in professional sports, with governing bodies coming under pressure to investigate the matter and its long-term impacts on athlete wellbeing.
In July, a DCMS inquiry determined that “urgent action is required by government and sporting bodies” to better understand the implications of sports concussions.
The inquiry has called for individual sports bodies to submit a “coherent minimum concussion protocol” to DCMS by 2023.
Leading the inquiry, Committee Chair Julian Knight criticised the Health and Safety Executive UK (HSE) for providing no guidance to professional sports on how to manage and treat athlete concussions.
HSE has been instructed to work with governing bodies to develop a ‘new national framework for reporting sports injuries’ that will require governing bodies to report and document individual brain injuries suffered by athletes.
“The protections afforded by the state to workers apply as much to footballers and jockeys as they do to miners and construction workers,” the DCMS report stated.
Knight, Conservative Party MP for Solihull, had previously cited concussions in his criticism of the BBC for striking a partnership with Bellator MMA.
The agreement, which was renewed earlier this year, has seen events from the MMA promotion – one of the most prominent in the sport – broadcast for free via BBC iPlayer.
In his letter, the MP said: “Given the current focus there has been in the media on concussion in sport, including several thoughtful pieces from the BBC (for example, the interview with the daughter of Scotland footballer Gordon McQueen) it seems strange that the BBC should be raising the prominence of mixed martial arts in this way.”