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.

The PDJF is an all-volunteer organization. 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.

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Testimonials

Happy Clients

G R Carter

These jockeys sacrificed their health so the industry can race horses. The PDJF is the best vehicle to provide financial assistance to these ex-athletes for their misfortune. I whole-heartedly support the PDJF and feel that the people in our industry should feel compelled to step up to the plate and help to support these permanently disabled jockeys.

Eight Time Recipient of the American Quarter Horse Association
(AQHA) World Champion Jockey

Jerry Bailey

Although I broke 17 bones in a 31-year career as a jockey, I consider myself both fortunate and blessed, yes I am one of the lucky ones. One of those who was able to walk away in relatively good health, and those that haven't been so fortunate desperately need our continued support. Very few jockeys are the millionaires that so many picture, and they struggle to meet both the emotional and financial demands that come with being disabled. Please find it in your heart to help the dedicated men and women that have given us all so many thrills on the backs of the animals that we hold so dear.

Retired
Hall of Fame Jockey
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