May 15, 2020

During this extraordinary time, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is continuing its activities and services for the sectors we regulate. We wish to offer as much guidance and support as we can to all those who rely on the AGCO’s services and continue to work closely with and support the provincial government with its greater public health objectives. Once horse racing in Ontario resumes operation, the AGCO will continue to conduct its horse racing related activities to maintain the safety of participants and the integrity of the sport. To that end, today we are issuing the following Information Bulletin on the AGCO Concussion Protocol to be implemented at Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse Racetracks once horse racing in Ontario resumes.

On April 20, 2019 the AGCO launched a Concussion Protocol pilot program at Woodbine and Fort Erie racetracks for jockeys during the 2019 racing season.

Following an evaluation by AGCO staff, and with feedback from industry representatives and other participants, the AGCO has developed Thoroughbred Rulebook Chapter 40 – Standards-Based Concussion Protocol and will be implementing a Concussion Protocol for jockeys and exercise riders at all Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racetracks (Woodbine, Fort Erie and Ajax Downs) at the start of their respective racing seasons.

Designed to enhance the health and safety of exercise riders, jockeys and race horses, the AGCO Concussion Protocol will ensure that racing participants who are diagnosed with a concussion by a Qualified Medical Professional are fully recovered before they resume their duties, which include both racing and exercising on racetrack grounds. The protocol also aims to raise awareness and understanding of concussions and associated health risks among racing participants and others.

Highlights of the protocol:

  • If a jockey or exercise rider is involved in an incident they must be assessed for concussion symptoms by a Qualified Person at the racetrack.
  • If the Qualified Person believes the participant is showing signs of a concussion, they will then be required to be examined by a Qualified Medical Professional who is able to diagnose concussions.
  • When the participant is medically cleared to return to their duties, they must provide the Racing Officials with a Fit for Duty note from their Qualified Medical Professional.
  • Participants may not to ride a horse at the racetrack until they are medically cleared as Fit for Duty.

To help prepare horse racing licensees for the implementation of the Concussion Protocol, the AGCO will be distributing information about the Concussion Protocol process, while following provincial guidelines regarding social distancing under the government’s ongoing response to COVID-19. The AGCO will also provide specialized educational resources about concussion management and awareness.

As part of its commitment to safeguarding racing participants and race horses while enhancing the integrity of racing, the AGCO supports the continued evaluation and expansion of the Concussion Protocol to enhance the safety of all racing participants in Ontario.

For more information on the AGCO Concussion Protocol, see Thoroughbred Rulebook Chapter 40 – Standards-Based Concussion Protocol or, contact an on-duty Race Officials/Steward at:

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