Sports Medicine specialist calls for speedy investigation into 'Jolly' Najair's death

Report by RJRGLEANER Communications Group Sports Reporter Denise Walters

Several questions are being raised about the operational procedures that were followed at Caymanas Park on September 26, the day veteran jockey Vassell "jollyman" Najair sustained serious injuries which eventually led to his death on Monday. The 65 year old Najair died on Monday, 12 days after he was struck down by the horse Perfect Asset who had escaped from gate attendants while the loading up process was going on for race number 6 on the 10 race card on September 26, at Caymanas Park.

He was rushed to the Spanish Town hospital and later transferred to the Kingston Public Hospital where he underwent surgery to remove pressure on the brain. Calls are now being made for an investigation to be launched into the unfortunate incident while several pertinent questions are being asked in relation to the tragedy.
Among the questions being raised are: whether or not anyone is to be blamed for allowing the horse to escape from the starting gates before the loading up exercise was completed? Who gave the ambulance crew instructions to await the return of the other horses which had just contested the event before attending to Najair and also the protocol governing the transfer of injured jockeys to hospital?

Dr Patrick Dietrich, the medical practitioner who attended to Najair on the day in question, refused to comment on the matter when RJR Sports caught up with him on Tuesday. Meanwhile RJR Sports also caught up with General Manager for Race Track Operations at SVREL Anthony Shoucair and asked him about the protocol in place to govern incidents like the one which occured two weeks ago.

In the meantime, well known Sports Medicine specialist Dr Paul Wright is calling for an agreement between Caymanas Park and the two major public hospitals (Kingston Public and the University Hospital of the West Indies to ensure a quicker response to incidents such as the ‘Jolly’ Najair scenario.

Meanwhile, RJR Sports made enquiries on Tuesday as to whether or not an investigation has been launched into the incident but was told by reliable sources that the Chief Executive Officer of SVREL Major Hugh Blake is awaiting reports from all parties concerned. Najair who began riding in the early 1970s, rode a total of 278 winners from 2756 mounts. His last win came aboard the Peter McMaster-trained Ras Emmanuel on August 7 of last year.



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