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Concussion History, Reporting Behaviors, Attitudes, and Knowledge in Jockeys

O'Connor, Siobhán, PhD*; Warrington, Giles, PhD; Whelan, Grainne, MSc; McGoldrick, Adrian, MB, FFSEM; Cullen, SarahJane, PhD§

doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000658
Original Research: PDF Only

Objective: To examine concussion history, knowledge, and attitudes among Irish professional and amateur jockeys.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Questionnaire was distributed through e-mails sent to all licensed jockeys, over social media and during professional and amateur race meetings.

Participants: An average of 23.6% (12%-44%) Irish professional and amateur jockeys (n = 119) holding a license in 2017.

Main Outcome Measures: Jockeys reported their previous concussion history, actions after their most recent concussion and responded to questions examining their knowledge and attitudes toward concussion.

Results: Amateur (32.4%) and professional (19.6%) jockeys, who were never medically diagnosed over their career, suspected that they had sustained a concussion. Jockeys displayed good knowledge of concussion signs and symptoms; yet, one in 2 jockeys would continue to ride out the same day if they suspected they had a concussion. They were less likely if they had a race that day. Reasons for continuing to ride include not considering a concussion as serious (85.7%); risk of losing the ride (84.0%); not wanting to let anyone down (77.8%); and considered it a sign of weakness (74.1%). Risky behavior was more common after a suspected concussion than a medically diagnosed concussion.

Conclusions: Underreporting of concussions is proposed as a serious concern, and concussion understanding and attitudes can impact reporting. To address the issue of underreporting of concussions in Irish horseracing, there is a need to educate jockeys and the wider racing community on the importance of timely concussion assessments and access to appropriate management systems.

*School of Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland;

Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland, and Health Research Institute, University of Limerick;

Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, The Curragh, Kildare, Ireland; and

§Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland.

Corresponding Author: Siobhán O'Connor, H270A, School of Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received March 08, 2018

Accepted August 04, 2018

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