Equestrian injury is costly, disabling, and frequently preventable: The imperative for improved safety awareness

Division of Trauma, Critical Care, and Acute Care Surgery, Department of Surgery L611, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA.
The American surgeon (Impact Factor: 0.82). 01/2013; 79(1):76-83.
Source: PubMed


Horse-related injury can be severe and disabling. We investigated the causes, severity, and costs of equestrian injury with the goal of injury prevention. A retrospective review of horse-related injuries from 2001 to 2008 identified 231 patients with a mean age of 38 years and a mean Injury Severity Score of 11 (range, 1 to 45). Mean length of stay was 5.5 days. Fifty-nine patients (25%) required 84 surgeries. Helmet use was 20 per cent and of the 172 patients not wearing a helmet while mounted, 38 per cent received potentially preventable head injuries. There were three deaths of which two were the result of intracranial hemorrhage in riders not wearing a helmet. Mean hospital charge was $29,800 for a total of $6.9 million. Ninety-one patients completed a survey regarding causation and disability. Thirty-four per cent reported wearing a helmet at the time of injury. Forty per cent reported that poor environmental factors contributed, 30 per cent reported poor horse and rider pairing, and 9 per cent reported equipment failure. Fifty-nine per cent reported long-term disabilities. Compared with the general population, respondents had diminution in their ability to perform usual daily activities associated with physical problems, diminution in social function, and higher bodily pain. We conclude that equestrian injury is costly, disabling, and frequently preventable.

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Available from: John C Mayberry, Jan 09, 2015
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    • "Despite decades of increased education, awareness, and training, injuries continue to occur without abatement. Our data corroborates those found in prior studies in that the majority of patients are young women who were thrown from, fell off, or directly injured by the horse, and sustained concussions and orthopedic injuries.1,4,6–15,17,20,22 While the prevalence of equestrian injuries is dwarfed by other reasons for emergency room visits,1,26 the rate of injuries is thought to be higher than that of other activities, including motorcycle riding and automobile racing.1,4,6,20,21 "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives Equestrian sports can result in a variety of injuries to the nervous system due to many factors. We describe our series of 80 patients with injuries sustained during participation in equestrian sports. Methods and Results All patients seen at the regional trauma center with injuries associated with equestrian sports between 2003 and 2011 were reviewed; 80 patients were identified. Fifty-four per cent were female and the average age was 37 years (2·2–79·3). The mean injury severity score (ISS) was 9·9 ± 0·7. Only two patients had documented helmet use. Glasgow coma score (GCS) was 15 in 93% of patients. The most common neurosurgical injuries were to the cranial vault (28%), including concussions, intracranial hematomas and hemorrhages, and skull, facial, and spine fractures (10%), with the majority (63%) being transverse process fractures. The mechanisms of injury varied: 55% were kicked or stepped on, 28% were thrown or fell off, and 21% were injured by the horse falling on them. The causes ranged from carelessness and lack of attention to animal factors including inadequate training of horses and animal fear. Fourteen per cent required surgery. There were no mortalities and average length of stay was 3·7 ± 0·35 days. All patients were discharged home with 95% requiring no services. Discussion Equestrian sports convey special risks for its participants. With proper protection and precautions, a decrease in the incidence of central nervous system injuries may be achieved. Neurosurgeons can play key roles in advocating for neurologic safety in equestrian sports.
    Neurological Research 04/2014; 36(10):1743132814Y0000000373. DOI:10.1179/1743132814Y.0000000373 · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to determine whether discrepant patterns of horse-related trauma exist in mounted vs. unmounted equestrians from a single Level I trauma center to guide awareness of injury prevention. Retrospective data were collected from the University of Kentucky Trauma Registry for patients admitted with horse-related injuries between January 2003 and December 2007 (n=284). Injuries incurred while mounted were compared with those incurred while unmounted. Of 284 patients, 145 (51%) subjects were male with an average age of 37.2 years (S.D. 17.2). Most injuries occurred due to falling off while riding (54%) or kick (22%), resulting in extremity fracture (33%) and head injury (27%). Mounted equestrians more commonly incurred injury to the chest and lower extremity while unmounted equestrians incurred injury to the face and abdomen. Head trauma frequency was equal between mounted and unmounted equestrians. There were 3 deaths, 2 of which were due to severe head injury from a kick. Helmet use was confirmed in only 12 cases (6%). This evaluation of trauma in mounted vs. unmounted equestrians indicates different patterns of injury, contributing to the growing body of literature in this field. We find interaction with horses to be dangerous to both mounted and unmounted equestrians. Intervention with increased safety equipment practice should include helmet usage while on and off the horse.
    Injury 04/2014; 45(9). DOI:10.1016/j.injury.2014.03.016 · 2.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IntroductionHorse riding, with almost 200,000 participants, is the eighth most popular sport in Sweden. Severe injuries can occur with horse riding accidents which is well documented. This study was undertaken to investigate if injuries associated with horse riding are common, which type of injuries occur, what mechanisms are involved and to estimate the costs to the society.Material and methodsAll patients attending the emergency department at Linköping University Hospital, during the years 2003-2004, due to horse related trauma were prospectively recorded. The patients were divided into two groups according to age, 147 children and 141 adults. The medical records were retrospectively scrutinized.ResultsThe most common mechanism of injury was falling from the horse. Most commonly, minor sprains and soft tissue injuries were seen, but also minor head injuries and fractures, mainly located in the upper limb. In total 26 adults and 37 children were admitted. Of these 63 patients 19 were considered having a serious injury. In total, four patients needed treatment in intensive care units.The total cost in each group was 200,000 Euro/year.Conclusion Horse riding is a sport with well known risks. Our results corresponds to the literature, however we have not observed the same incidence of serious injuries. In contrast we find these to be fairly uncommon. The injuries are mainly minor, with a small risk of long term morbidity. Over time regulations and safety equipment seem to have decreased the number of serious accidents.
    Scandinavian Journal of Trauma Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 07/2014; 22(1):40. DOI:10.1186/s13049-014-0040-8 · 2.03 Impact Factor
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