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'UK at the Half': UK SMRI researchers create new, jockey-specific concussion protocol

UK SMRI researchers created a new jockey-specific concussion protocol.
UK SMRI researchers created a new jockey-specific concussion protocol. Arden Barnes | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2022) — Horse racing is the most dangerous sport for concussions, even surpassing American football. However, concussions in jockeys often go undetected due to inadequate regulations and protocols.

In this “UK at the Half,” two researchers with the University of Kentucky Sports Medicine Research Institute share how they are looking to support the safety of the jockey community by creating an all-new jockey-specific concussion protocol, known as “the Graham Test.”

Kimberly Tumlin, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and the research director with the Equestrian Athlete Initiative, and Michaela Keener is a doctoral student in the College of Health Sciences and the research administrative coordinator with the Equestrian Athlete Initiative.

The Graham Test consists of asking the jockeys to conduct a reaction-time test with a lighted rig developed by Keener and Tumlin on an upside-down BOSU ball. For the past two years, they’ve been working in partnership with Keeneland to conduct their research and develop this new test with the help and feedback from the jockeys who race here.

With a passion for this community as the driving force behind their project, they strive to not only help identify concussions more accurately, but also to help jockeys begin advocating for their own health.

“UK at the Half” airs during halftime of each UK football and basketball game broadcast on radio and is hosted by UK Public Relations and Marketing. To hear the “UK at the Half” interview, click on the play button above.

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