Delaware Jockeys Board approves funding for HeadCheck injury-tracking system

Posted: April 17, 2020

The Delaware Jockeys Health and Welfare Benefit Board has allocated $1,500 for participation in the HeadCheck Health electronic injury-tracking system.

Last fall, MedStar Health and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association announced a new partnership with HeadCheck Health to optimize concussion safety and care at racetracks. Delaware and Maryland officials have been working together to implement the system in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The HeadCheck software program provides real-time injury, incident and accident reporting for racing regulators and medical staff with the ability to instantly remove and return jockeys to riding; management of physical, medical clearance and policy consent forms; emergency contact information; a mobile app for healthcare professionals to run baseline and post-injury concussion assessments; a means to monitor jockey injury and recovery progress; a customized, integrated and interactive return-to-ride module for guiding jockeys back to health; and injury, incident and accident reporting for safety staff.

Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission member Ed Stegemeier made the announcement at the commission’s April 15 meeting. The Health and Welfare Benefit Board approved the HeadCheck contribution April 1, he said.

“The important thing about this system is it was created by medical professionals who have been leaders in the sports medicine world and the racing industry,” said Dr. Kelly Ryan, a MedStar Health physician who is part of the Maryland Horsemen’s Health System. “The HeadCheck system will be integral in advancing the safety protocols in this sport like other professional and college sports.”

In other business in Delaware, Stegemeier said the Health and Welfare Benefit Board also approved an expenditure of $16,000 to absorb health insurance co-pays for riders in May and June. Live racing has been shut down in the region and, though Delaware Park is scheduled to begin its meet May 27, there is a chance the opening will be delayed until late June or early July.

“It’s the right thing to do to help these people out,” Stegemeier said.

The Delaware Jockeys Association, which oversees various benefit and wellness programs for riders, will soon be headed by former jockey Pete Lizarzaburu. The position has been held by Robert Colton, who will serve as a steward this year at Delaware Park.