NTRA Safety Alliance Updates Code of Standards

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Safety and Integrity Alliance has updated its code of standards to add more protocol for prevention and reporting of equine injuries, jockey health and safety, and continuing education for industry participants.

The alliance, launched in 2008, began accrediting racetracks in 2009. Tracks accredited in the first year are up for renewal. The NTRA has implemented a new fee schedule for 2011 to encourage participation by alliance-member tracks that haven't yet applied for accreditation.

In regard to reporting of injuries, the updated code requires members to report equine injuries and fatalities during non-race periods at racetracks. The code requires information gleaned from mandatory pre-race veterinary examinations be recorded in an electronic database, and also calls for post-race veterinary inspections.

Discussions among Jockeys' Guild representatives and alliance committee members brought about new parameters for providing timely and quality medical care for human injuries at tracks. The code "strongly" recommends tracks having designated medical directors or a "reasonable strategy for timely provision of comparable services"; on-site emergency medical staff such as nurses and emergency medical technicians; on-site first aid facilities; and outlines protocol for the transfer of injured riders.

"The addition of guidelines to promote jockey health and safety is the single biggest change to the alliance's 2011 code of standards," alliance executive director Mike Ziegler said. "In addition, the code has been made even more rigorous in a number of other areas, including injury reporting, pre-and post-race veterinary inspections, and safety training and continuing education."

The alliance is soliciting feedback on the 2011 code; respondents can do so by March 9. The updated code can be viewed online.

Originally posted on BloodHorse.com.

About the Author

Tom LaMarra

Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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