President’s Message

Nancy LaSala

PDJF President

The poetry of a horse race can become chaos in the blink of an eye; a jockey plummets to the racetrack, trying to avoid the crushing weight of his falling mount and often rolling amidst a hellish pounding of hooves. Medics arrive quickly to assess the severity of injuries and provide immediate care. The most fortunate riders get treatment in the first aid room and walk out of the track for some badly needed R&R. Then there are those riders who are rushed to a hospital for more extensive care or even surgery.

As the doctors and medical staff do their best, family and friends arrive. The racetrack chaplain visits, and the hospital stay stretches from days to weeks. Well-wishers call, offer prayers, and send a flurry of flowers and cards. If luck stays at a rider’s side, even a serious injury will lead to recuperation, rehabilitation, and an eventual return to the jocks’ room to compete again.

But not all riders are so lucky, and those few seconds of chaos have changed their lives forever. They face paralysis and/or debilitating brain injury that can mean complicated surgeries and prolonged recovery. Specialized treatments. Specialized care centers. New ways of living have to be adopted and accepted by the rider, the family, and their friends. The jockey may get better, but there may be no cure.

An independent 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) stands with those who may never stand, walk, or function as they once did. The PDJF is there when the hard work of rehabilitation begins in earnest. The PDJF is a constant source of support and hope for jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track accidents.

We are especially thankful for the hundreds of volunteers who share countless hours supporting our cause. The PDJF makes a difference because of them.

Every day jockeys put their lives on the line for the sport we all love. Without them, horse racing could not exist. They give us their courage and commitment; in return, the racing industry must catch them when they fall. That is why the PDJF exists. That is why we need your help.