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17 August 2020

Debra’s Story – Occupational Health

Debra Hutchinson, a member of stable staff at Malton-based Roger Fell’s yard, dislocated her shoulder when leading a horse up at the races.  Unable to work or drive and with her arm in a sling, Debra contacted Harriet, her local Welfare Officer who she knew from previous yard visits. A hiatus of four months out of the saddle also led Debra to consider her future in racing and she was able to receive key careers support and development through CATS.

Following Debra’s accident, Harriet arranged an assessment for her with an occupational health nurse who recommended physiotherapy treatment. Debra was swiftly referred to The Injured Jockey Fund’s Jack Berry House where Racing Welfare were able to fund her treatment – initially twice a week for a few weeks and then once a week until she had her last session.

Debra explained: “It massively helped with my injury. There’s a lack of confidence when you’ve dislocated something because it’s whether you trust it. The injury happened in Suffolk and things got a bit lost between hospitals and it was on its way to being a frozen shoulder.

“As soon as Gemma, the head of physio at Jack Berry House saw it, she said ‘you’ve got to get this shoulder moving’ and she recommended swimming and the gym to build the confidence to get it moving again.”

Debra reached the point where the medical experts said it was a case of time with her recovery and if she had problems she could go back to Jack Berry House for more treatment.

It did recover brilliantly and I’m back riding out,” she said. “It half came out at work recently when leading a horse in the yard so I may need further treatment; my shoulder is at a different angle when leading up but when I’m out riding it’s fine as it’s a completely different movement. I don’t ride as many keen ones as I used to but that’s probably a good thing!

Careers Advice & Training Service (CATS)

After the difficult period with injury Debra was considering her future. She contacted CATS – Racing Welfare’s Careers Advice & Training Service – for additional advice and guidance on the next steps in her career.

As well as offering support, CATS were able to provide funding to help Debra remain within the industry:

‘I’d like to get experience with coaching and teaching students. I contacted CATS and they said I should be able to get a grant to do my level 3. Harriet worked all that out for me and I was eligible for it. I’m still in the process of completing it and I need it to teach students of a certain level. It would be nice to stay in racing – I’ve got the bug. It’s good that there’s a lead on from it. When the time is right to step down from being on a yard and planning for the future, I’ve got a background in teaching so that seems the natural step. It’s incredible how much help Racing Welfare can give.”

If you need help with a physical injury, do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 6300 443 or you can visit our Racing’s Occupational Health page for more information. Click here to visit our Careers Advice & Training Service website.