A Retrospective Cohort Study of Traumatic Brain Injury and Usage of Protective Headgear During Equestrian Activities

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Abstract

Some of the more popular sporting activities for those living in rural areas include equestrian activities such as rodeo events and horseback riding. The lack of helmet use poses a concern for those who participate in these activities due to the risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and ultimately having a negative effect on their future. A retrospective cohort study was conducted at a trauma center comparing the data on animal-riding patients and their use or lack of use of headgear and incidence of TBI. Of the patients identified, 16.2% sustained a head injury, ranking TBI fourth among all injuries sustained by the animal-riding population. Males were predominantly affected; however, females of pediatric age 5–17 years (54.5%) ranked high among the TBI population. Among all the patients identified with TBI, none of the patients were wearing a helmet and all sustained a head injury. The average injury severity score was 11, with hospital length of stay averaging less than 2 days and the overall mortality was 3.6%. Findings from the study should be considered for the purpose of implementing an age-specific educational program focused on head injury prevention and utilization of protective headgear. Current literature supports the use of protective headgear to reduce the risk of head injuries. Animal riders should be educated on the importance of using headgear as a preventive measure. Future studies are needed to indicate the effectiveness of injury prevention in regard to head injury severity and the use of protective headgear.

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