Following any head injury which results in concussion it is important that the Jockey is given time to rest and fully recover before returning to exercise (e.g. riding or yard work). The Jockey will recover quicker if they completely rest until their symptoms have fully resolved at rest. Normally this will take 48hrs. The Jockey may then undertake light exercise (e.g. 15min walk). If after this they have a recurrence of their symptoms they should rest for the following 24hrs and try light exercise again after complete resolution of their symptoms. If symptom free after light exercise they may progress to moderate exercise (e.g. 1hr walk, gentle 20min run). Again if symptoms return then rest and start again with light exercise, if no recurrence of symptoms they may gradually increase the amount of exercise they are able to do until able to exercise at full capacity. They may then return to riding.

Return to Sport Protocol

return to work flow chart

The majority of Jockeys with concussion will fully recover with in 7 days of their initial injury. Those who do not, may, need a period of prolonged rest and in severe cases may be unable to ride for 6-12 months.

Click here for further advice regarding head injuries and when you should get urgent medical attention.

The following are all common symptoms of concussion:

  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness

Important note regarding REST

REST means- no exercise, no television, no computer, no telephone i.e. rest the body and mind, this is the ideal although understandably not always achievable.


Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is the name given to a form of irreversible, progressive brain damage for which no proven cause has been established but from initial research appears to be linked to repeated mild trauma to the brain.

The long term effects of this condition include depression, movement and coordination disorders, personality change, aggression and dementia. CTE has recently been the subject of media coverage as a result of a $765 million legal action brought be 4,500 retired players against the NFL. Currently there is no screening test available for CTE and little is known about who might be susceptible to developing CTE or how to prevent it.

The main UK Sports Governing Bodies have therefore agreed that the best way to protect sportsmen and women is to ensure that anyone who sustains a head injury is fully assessed before being allowed to return to play. This includes athletes diagnosed with concussion who are recommended to follow a graduated exercise program before being passed as ‘fit to return to sport’ by a suitably qualified and trained doctor.