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Motorcycle race doctors

Authors: Tim Moll 

Publication date:  02 Feb 2008


Motorcycle racing carries the potential for serious injury and death. Consequently, the presence of doctors is mandatory at most race meetings. Working at motorcycle race meetings is both challenging and rewarding and surprisingly different from car meetings. Although similarities do exist, mechanisms, patterns, and frequency of injury are quite distinct. Injuries are much more common in motorcycle sport.

To discover the full range of UK motorcycle sport visit [Link] . As well as information relating to all the various motorcycle disciplines, it contains invaluable frequently asked questions about medical conditions that may exclude riders from racing.

[Link] is a charity dedicated to improving motorsport safety. It produces publications and DVDs about safe trackside working. Although aimed at marshals, this information is useful and relevant for novice trackside doctors.

It is advisable for novice racetrack doctors to have specific training in prehospital trauma care, especially if they lack experience in critical care specialties. The British Association for Immediate Care website ( [Link] ) lists several prehospital training resources, including prehospital emergency care and prehospital trauma life support courses. These courses focus on prehospital scene safety. This is especially important for predominantly hospital based practitioners.

A search for web based motorsport medicine resources will inevitably lead to [Link] . This is a primitive website that has not been updated for many years and is best skipped. A more useful port of call may be [Link] . Although biased towards circuit racing, it includes sections on speedway and motocross written by experienced chief medical officers. The website contains details about the structure of British motorcycle sport, mechanisms of injury, details of flagging, a who’s who of racetrack personnel, medicolegal information, and links to the major racing circuits in the United Kingdom and Isle of Man. The website is straightforward, easy to navigate, and regularly updated. The colour scheme may not be to everyone’s taste.

Thankfully, most riders’ injuries are non-life threatening musculoskeletal injuries. [Link] is a comprehensive online textbook of orthopaedics that helps to answer typical (and common) questions from injured racers relating to future hospital treatment and prognosis.

After gaining some grassroots experience, [Link] is worth a visit. It is run by the dedicated medical team looking after the British and World Superbike Championship. The website is simple but contains all the necessary information for potential superbike doctors. The frequently asked questions are particularly useful. Adventurous doctors who regard circuit racing as too tame may like to check out [Link] . This is a well structured website detailing how to get involved and what to expect when working at the infamous Isle of Man TT races.

Tim Moll is the author of [Link] .

Tim Moll consultant anaesthetist and chief medical officer, Cadwell Park racing circuit Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

 timothy.moll@nhs.net

Cite this as BMJ Careers ; doi: