By T. D. Thornton
Rules aimed at strengthening health and fitness protections and upgrading the licensing requirements for jockeys, exercise riders and outriders are in the pipeline in New York.
The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) voted unanimously Tuesday at its monthly meeting to advance a comprehensively re-written package of licensing protocols to the proposal level. After a public commentary period, the package will come up for a final vote at a future commission meeting.
“The proposal creates a rider fitness component that details the kinds of medical issues that must be disclosed and subjected to a medical examination and clearance before a rider may be licensed,” stated a NYSGC brief on the proposal that was included in the meeting package. “Riders are required to record pertinent medical information and medical clearances into a database system. A key aspect of the rulemaking is to require every rider to document their baseline concussive status, to undergo another Sports Concussive Assessment Tool examination after any fall from a horse or possible head injury, and to make a permanent record of future examinations.”
The proposal also creates a mandatory “fitness to return to ride” program to require an appropriate medical examination and clearance before a licensee may return to riding after a concussion or other significant medical issue.
If the new rules pass, riders will be required to carry a medical information card that will help medical providers give appropriate care in the event of an accident or injury.
Of note to steeplechase jockeys who compete on the New York circuit, the proposal would require a commission license–not just one from the National Steeplechase Association–for jump-race riders.
Also, the new measures would preclude “inexperienced steeplechase jockeys from participating in the most competitive and dangerous races with pari-mutuel wagering.”