Research Supports Wearing Helmets for Equestrian Activities

Janelle Forsgren, SN

Equestrian activities, such as rodeos and show jumping, are exhilarating for riders, but also pose significant risks for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) without protective headgear. In a recent study, TBI in equestrian-related activities were most often caused by striking the ground due to a fall. The study results showed that males were more likely than females to suffer TBI from equestrian activities. However, the highest rates of TBI came from the early pediatric population of ages 0 to 10. All of the participants who attained TBI were not wearing protective headgear.

How does this relate to parents? Since the greatest number of TBIs occurred in the young pediatric population, research shows that parents of young equestrians need to make sure that their children are wearing protective headgear while participating in these activities. Many helmet companies offer helmets that combine visual appeal with safety.

How does this relate to health care providers? Nurses and other care providers should participate in lobbying to enforce helmet-wearing during these activities. They should also teach patients that come in for TBI the critical need for protective headgear. This teaching will most likely be effective if paired with professional equestrian organizations to teach riders the risks of trauma and preventative measures.

Lemoine, D. S., Bradley, J. T., Lacombe, J. A., & Hood, T. C. (2017) A retrospective cohort study of traumatic brain injury and usage of protective headgear during equestrian activities. Journal of Trauma Nursing, 24(4), 251-257. doi:10.1097/JTN.0000000000000300

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