Jockey Concussion Protocol Among Revisions to ARCI Model Rules

by | 05.10.2018 | 3:32pm

The Association of Racing Commissioners International's Board of Directors has approved the latest revisions to its Model Rules of Racing, including protocol for when riders sustain concussions, best practices when lightning is in the area and raising the scale of weights in Quarter Horse racing.

The model rules provide the template for racing regulatory entities and the framework under which the sport has made significant gains toward uniform regulations among jurisdictions. The updated model rules can be viewed at and downloaded by using the button at the bottom of this message.

The ARCI Model Rules Committee recommended the updates, which then went to the full board for approval at ARCI's 84th Conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity in Hot Springs, Ark. The committee is chaired by the South Dakota Commission on Gaming's Larry Eliason.

“The Model Rules are a living document that we amend as needed to provide our regulatory members the most up-to-date blueprint for best practices in all areas of conducting pari-mutuel racing,” said ARCI President Ed Martin. “Concussions are at the forefront of all sports, and these additions to the Model Rules make sure racing participants get proper evaluation when the possibility of a concussion occurs and do not return to racing prematurely. At the heart of all these changes is the well-being and safety of our human and equine athletes.”

The changes:

ARCI-007-020 (A)(5)(b) and (A)(10) — The concussion protocol for jockeys was amended to mandate that at least one of the previously-required medical professionals on site (physician, nurse practitioner or paramedic) must be adequately trained in diagnosing and assessing concussions.

The updated rule requires racing associations to adopt, post and implement protocol approved by the regulatory authority for the diagnosis and management of concussions sustained by jockeys. Such protocol is to include an assessment with a minimum of a SCAT-5 exam by an individual trained in concussions, which could be the track physician, paramedic, nurse practitioner or athletic trainer. Additionally, a return-to-ride guideline must be established in order to clear a jockey who has been concussed, or is believed to have been concussed, once he or she is declared fit to ride.

ARCI-007-020 (M) and 014-025 — Tracks are required to develop an approved hazardous weather and lightning protocol, including access to a commercial, real-time lightning detection service with strike distance/radius notifications. When lightning is detected within eight miles radius of the track, racing or training will be suspended and participants alerted to seek shelter. Racing or training can resume only after a minimum of 30 minutes has passed since the last strike is observed within an eight-mile radius.

ARCI-010-020 (D)(3) — The scale of weights jockeys carry in Quarter Horses, Appaloosas and Paints was increased four pounds in each age class, with the minimum weight to be carried now 124 pounds for 2-year-olds, 126 for 3-year-olds and 128 for older horses.

ARCI Model Rules can be downloaded here.

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