Jockeys' Guild, HISA Host Jockey Mental Wellness Symposium


The Jockeys' Guild and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) on Tuesday hosted a first-ever symposium at Keeneland in an effort to generate discussion on how the Thoroughbred industry can work together to advance the mental well-being of jockeys across the country.

Retired NFL player Randy Grimes, who advocates for appropriate and accessible mental wellness and addiction-related resources for professional athletes, gave the keynote address, and retired jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who penned the book “Riding for Freedom,” also spoke on his lifelong struggles with mental wellness and addiction and his goal of helping others, particularly other jockeys, overcome similar difficulties off the track.

Additionally, FGS Global shared the results of an anonymous survey of 230 jockeys recently conducted to evaluate mental wellness needs and determine what kinds of resources and support services would be most impactful.

The survey found:
• 10% of jockeys describe their mental health as “poor”
• A third have had challenges in their daily lives over the past month due to feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety.
• 93% are concerned about financial stability and providing for their families

Also, lack of financial security, making weight, the pressure to win and lack of a livable wage were among the biggest pressures the jockeys said they faced, with barriers to seeking help being the fear of losing work and a general stigma around asking for support.

“The Jockeys' Guild appreciates all of the jockeys who took the time to complete the survey,” Terry Meyocks, Jockeys' Guild President and CEO said. “The number of responses just reiterates the importance of mental health and wellness for our athletes. We also appreciate all of the input and interest by industry participants in this first step in addressing jockeys' mental health. It is a very complex topic and it is necessary to have discussions like today on the best way to move forward. The ultimate goal is that we as an industry will be able to support and find solutions for, not only the jockeys, but everyone in our industry.”

Potential resources that respondents expressed the most interest in to help address their challenges included nutritional support services to help safely maintain weight, access to a sports psychologist, career transition resources for retirement and personal finance assistance.

“HISA's responsibility to oversee safety in racing certainly includes the mental wellbeing of its athletes,” Lisa Lazarus, HISA's CEO, said. “The results of this survey serve as a reminder of the many challenges jockeys face. We are grateful to all the jockeys who shared their experiences and feedback, all of which will be crucial in our efforts to advance the wellbeing of current and future riders across the country.”

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Bolt d'Oro Filly Brings $1.25M at Fasig Midlantic May Sale
  2. Weekly Stewards and Commissions Rulings, May 8 – May 15
  3. Breeding Digest: Justify Straddling The Seas
  4. 'I Don't See Racing's Future as Rosy' – Trainer Eddie Plesa Looks Ahead Following Milestone Victory
  5. Triple Crown-Winning Sires Well Represented In Japan

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.