Forty-five percent of all patients who are admitted to a hospital with a sports-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) are equestrians, according to a study by The Journal of Neurosurgery.
Check out this article from the Chronicle of the Horse for great information on TBIs in the horse world. If you don't have time to read the article, at least read the rest of this blog post.
We participate in a dangerous sport, a sport that experiences more head injuries than any other including football, soccer, or hockey. This isn't meant to be a somber post, but rather a reminder to riders and parents that safety is important. Competitions now require certified helmets, but it's often the practice we do at home that leaves us injured.
Things to remember:
- Always wear a certified helmet when you ride*
- Check your helmet often for signs of damage (use this page for guidance on what to look for)
- Be careful. Seems simple, right? But how often do you see your friends fooling around on or off the horse. Call each other out. Safety is important.
- Know the symptoms of concussions and TBIs. Check out this page from the CDC to learn the signs.
- Make sure your helmet fits. For those of you who live in this area, visit Sporthorse Saddlery for professional guidance on which size helmet to buy. Your helmet doesn't need to be expensive to protect you, but it does need to fit.
Other facts from the article linked above:
1. "Only about 25% of horsemen wear helmets when riding, despite the fact that helmets reduce TBIs by around 50%."
2. There is research going on now to identify biomedical markers of concussions so they can be identified on the field, as soon as they happen.
3. Getting back on right after hitting your head is not a good idea. Take a few minutes to evaluate how you feel.
4. Loss of consciousness only occurs about 9 percent of the time (with a concussion.)
5. The hunter/jumper world has five times as many concussions as eventing.
*Our barn policy technically dictates that 18+ riders may only ride without a helmet on a horse that they own, and only on the flat. However, we strongly encourage every rider to wear a helmet. You never know when something could happen. Any rider who is jumping at Fox Run Training must be wearing a helmet.
We love our clients, and only want you all to be safe and healthy so that we can continue to enjoy this sport and grow as equestrians. If you have any questions about your helmet or our safety policies at the barn, please talk to Nicole.