Churchill Downs medical team preparing to monitor jockeys and fa - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Churchill Downs medical team preparing to monitor jockeys and fans on Kentucky Oaks and Derby days

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Churchill Downs Medical Director Dr. John Bayard Rice Churchill Downs Medical Director Dr. John Bayard Rice

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As tens of thousands converge on Churchill Downs, a medical team is standing by ready to jump into action.

Four doctors will be working the Kentucky Oaks, and six will be standing by for the Kentucky Derby, along with many paramedics.

Churchill Downs Medical Director Dr. John Bayard Rice has worked the event for nearly two and a half decades and has seen a long list of injuries firsthand, from simple cuts to sprains and dehydration from too much alcohol.“A lot of them are just dropping glasses, c

“Depending on the weather, there could be heat exhaustion as well,” Rice said.

The team will be stationed all around the track for the events with more resource building up as the crowds grow.

“On Derby day, we have three main first aid areas: one on the clubhouse side, one on the grandstand side and then one in the infield,” Rice said.

Doctors also treat injured jockeys and screen them for head injuries. One of their main roles is to watch the races in case a jockey falls, which can lead to serious injuries.

"They are sitting on top of a 2,000 pound animal, who’s running at 25 to 30 miles an hour," Rice said. "And when they go, they can hit the ground pretty hard."

The racetrack is in the process of implementing new concussion screen protocols. The medical team treats at least 50 to 60 people on the Kentucky Oaks and even more for the big race.

“Last year, we transported on Derby day roughly 40 people to area hospitals,” Rice said.

Rice said the best thing you can do to avoiding needing medical assistance is by drink plenty of water.

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