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INTRODUCTION: There are limited injury data in professional horse racing, particularly by sex. OBJECTIVES: To describe injury incidence, characteristics and falls in male and female, flat and jump jockeys in Great Britain. DESIGN AND SETTING: Retrospective cohort study of professional jockeys in Britain. PARTICIPANTS: 245 jockeys licensed between 2007 and 2017. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measure was injury on a race day. Injury incidence (per 1000 rides; per 1000 falls) was derived. Incidence-rate ratios (IRR) were calculated to compare incidence between flat and jump racing, male and female jockeys, and male flat and male jump jockeys for: (i) injury incidence, (ii) fall incidence and (iii) injuries per fall. RESULTS: 234 British professional jockeys were included. Jockeys were on average 19.5±2.0 years old at licence date, 79.9% male and 58.1% flat. The time of follow-up (racing in the study) was 3.7 (SD=2.3) years. There were 278 injuries, occurring in-race (81.7%), in the stalls (10.8%) or parade ring (6.1%). After one injury was removed to preserve anonymity, 57.2% were soft tissue injuries, 25.3% fractures and 10.5% concussion. There were 1634 falls, with 92% in male jump racing. The injury incidence was higher in jump racing (5.1 vs 1.0/1000 jockey rides). The falls incidence was 1.8/1000 rides in flat and 46.2/1000 rides in jump racing (IRR 0.04, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.04). There were over five times higher injuries/1000 falls in flat than jump racing (IRR 5.56, 95% CI 4.05 to 7.53). Male flat jockeys fell less than female flat (IRR 0.57, 95% CI 0.35 to 0.97). CONCLUSION: Most injuries occurred in-race and were soft tissue injuries. Jump jockeys fell more often than flat, and female flat jockeys fell more often than male flat. Flat jockeys injured more frequently when falling. No sex differences were seen for injuries per fall.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmj open

Publication Date





epidemiology, orthopaedic sports trauma, sports medicine