Results of a retrospective study performed by doctors at an Alberta trauma center shed a new light on the incidence and type of injuries sustained by equestrians. Additionally, the doctors found that experienced riders were more likely to suffer severe injuries than previously reported.
The researchers advocated the use of protective helmets and vests, regardless of riding experience.
Doctors at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, Alberta reviewed the records of patients admitted to the level 1 trauma center for patients over 16 years of age from 1995 to 2005. Of 7,941 trauma patients, 151 (2%) were injured while participating in an equestrian activity. Doctors gathered more information on the riders, their mounts, and accident, via a questionnaire mailed to available patients.
The most common injuries were sustained to the chest (54%) and head (48%), and 45% of the patients required surgery. The authors of the study noted that chest trauma has been underappreciated in past studies of equestrian injuries, and that the high experience level of the majority of the injured riders in this study might have had an impact on the type of injury sustained.
Overall, the study population could be characterized as experienced riders and was consistent with the equestrian population of the area. The average patie