A Proposed Return to Ride Protocol for United States Jockeys Following Concussion


  • Carolina Quintana California State University, Fresno
  • Kimberly Tumlin University of Kentucky
  • Matthew Hoch University of Kentucky
  • Nicholas Heebner University of Kentucky
  • Bianca Grimshaw University of Louisville Health
  • Carl Mattocola University of North Carolina at Greensboro




concussion, Policy and Procedure Development, Risk Management and Mitigation


Professional horse racing jockeys participate in a high-risk sport, however there is limited research and policies regarding welfare and safety. Despite the high incidence and risk of concussions, there are not standardized protocols for returning these unique athletes to participation following concussion. A return-to-ride concussion protocol for thoroughbred horse racing athletes must take into account the unique considerations and practices of the sport. Current concussion management strategies suggest removal from riding and activity when a concussion is suspected. This is followed by further evaluation for diagnosis, a period of both cognitive and physical rest before a gradual return-to-activity prior to full medical clearance and a return to previous levels of activity and competition. The proposed protocol follows suggested strategies while tailoring the graduated return-to-activity to meet the needs of the US jockey population. This protocol may be used following injury to ensure an adequate recovery and safe return-to-activity and is outlined such that it can be followed by an individual athlete and provides descriptions for each activity and stage.

Author Biographies

Carolina Quintana, California State University, Fresno

Dr. Carolina Quintana is Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Fresno. Dr. Quintana completed her PhD at the University of Kentucky investigating the consequences of concussion while working within the horse racing industry to implement baseline concussion testing and concussion management policies specific to the sport of horse racing.

Twitter: @cquintanaatc

Kimberly Tumlin, University of Kentucky

Dr. Kimberly I. Tumlin is an assistant professor in the College of Public Health. Emphasizing practice-relevant assessments her research unravels complexities of health outcomes associated with human-animal interactions. She also serves as the research director for the Equestrian Athlete Initiative (EqA) in the UK Sports Medicine Research Institute.

Twitter: @DrTumlin

Matthew Hoch, University of Kentucky

Dr. Matthew Hoch is currently the Associate Director of the University of Kentucky’s Sports Medicine Research Institute and associate professor in the Department of Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition. His research interests involve mitigating sensorimotor compromise and enhancing patient-centered care following traumatic lower extremity injuries to reduce the long-term consequences of these conditions over the lifespan. Dr. Hoch’s previous work has largely focused on identifying novel therapeutic intervention strategies for patients with chronic ankle instability.

Twitter: @MHoch_AT

Nicholas Heebner, University of Kentucky

Dr. Heebner is currently the associate director of the University of Kentucky’s Sports Medicine Research Institute and assistant professor in the Department of Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition. His research focuses on the prevention, rehabilitation, and management of sport-related injuries with a focus on wearable technology and biomechanics.

Twitter: @nickheebner1

Bianca Grimshaw, University of Louisville Health

Bianca Grimshaw is a graduate of Quinnipiac University (BS), University of Kentucky (MS), and fellowship trained (Andrews Institute) Certified Athletic Trainer. Grimshaw is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association, Southeast Athletic Trainers’ Association, and currently serves as Kentucky Athletic Trainer’s Society Public Relations and Marketing Chair. Grimshaw is a dually credentialled certified athletic trainer and certified orthopaedic technologist.

Carl Mattocola, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Dr. Mattacola is Dean and professor in the School of Health and Human Sciences, Department of Kinesiology at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His research has focused on neuromuscular, postural, and functional considerations in the treatment and rehabilitation of lower extremity injury especially following surgery

Twitter: @CarlMattacola






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