The Forgotten Athletes: Jockey’s health reinvented

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Jockeys are the latest athletes to benefit from the application of sport science in a long-term project from the School of Exercise and Sport Science.

Dr George Wilson, a former jockey, is supporting riders to counter the detrimental effects of weight-making both on racing performance and long-term wellbeing.

“Long-term chronic dehydration can cause kidney stones and mental health issues, plus in simulated races, we found strength and reaction times impacted by the ways jockeys were trying to control their weight,” he said.

Dr Wilson has worked with dozens of jockeys to help them understand energy, nutrition and performance and how fitness can be balanced with maintaining racing weight.

The ‘fuelling to perform’ message has had a huge impact on the sport, gaining the backing of the Jockey Club and the British Horse Racing Authority. Wilson has advised more than 400 jockeys and associations as far afield as Australia, Hong Kong and the US.

Academics

Dr George Wilson

Professor Graeme Close