Opinion: Hall Of Fame Jockey Believes Safety Vests Result In 'More Serious Head, Neck, And Back Injuries' - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Opinion: Hall Of Fame Jockey Believes Safety Vests Result In ‘More Serious Head, Neck, And Back Injuries’

Jockey Shane Dye, a member of the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, shared his opinion about what he feels is a lack of safety in the safety vests jockeys wear during races with punters.com.au.

“The vest comes up and hits your head, resulting in more head injuries, and it prevents a jockey from rolling, the most important reaction in a fall,” Dye said. “I've got no doubt in my mind that the vest causes more serious head, neck, and back injuries because you can't roll.”

Dye cited a 2014 study into the safety vests which examined insurance claim data prior to and following the introduction of the vests.

The report indicates “a significant increase in neck fracture percentages during the post-vest period” and “a significant increase in back fracture percentages during the post-vest period,” and that “the vests are neither comfortable nor have they been universally accepted as being worthwhile.”

The winner of over 100 Group 1 races also pointed to a research paper written in 2019 by Lisa Giusti Gestri, which concludes: “the current vests are failing in providing sufficient protection.”

Editor's Note: The aforementioned opinion is that of jockey Shane Dye, an expert in race riding but perhaps not in safety data. The 2014 study's key findings are printed in full below, and a link to the full study is available here:

“Despite an apparent growing acceptance of the vests, most riders felt the protective capabilities of the vests and the vest comfort levels should be improved. While a reduction in sprain and strain injuries in the chest and back were identified (suggesting a vest meeting current standards may be reducing these lesser injuries), an increase in neck and spinal fractures was also identified. There was no evidence that the increase in neck and spinal fractures was related to wearing the vests (as suggested by some riders). Instead a review of raceday footage carried out by a biomechanical engineer showed that most of these injuries are “indirect injuries” and a result of a rider taking a forward dive into the track. This theory was supported by the identification of a significant increase in head and facial fractures during the same period of study. Several vests were tested as part of this work, with the widely used Tipperary Ride Lite vest failing testing requirements. As a result of the project the ARB immediately began further investigations into the Tipperary vest and subsequently ruled to suspend the use by licensed jockeys, track riders and stable hands of the Tipperary Ride Lite vest. The ARB is continuing to work with the manufacture of the Tipperary Ride Lite vest to address safety concerns. That action alone is a significant outcome of this project.”

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