Head Injuries and Protective Headgear

by Jordan Manfredi
Of the approximately 77,000 emergency room visits per year by equestrians, 15 % (about 11,500) are head injuries, and most are to unhelmeted riders. Of the sports and recreational activities that are linked to head injuries, horseback riding ranked #11 in 2009. Horseback riding resulted in 11.7% of all traumatic brain injuries in recreational sports from 2001-2005 - the highest of any athletic activity. Of the fatalities caused by equestrian activity......95 US deaths in 2009 alone......60% are from head injuries. Equestrian-related deaths have dropped by half since the ASTM standard went into effect. The US Pony Clubs lowered its head injury rate by 29% after mandating helmet use. After protective -headgear design improved and was widely adopted, Britain's hospital admission rate for equestrians fell 45%. (Sources: USDF Connection/Dru Malavas, American Assoc. Of Neurological Surgeons, Riders-4Helmets.com, American Riding Instructors Assoc.)

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