A study from Utah suggests that young riders who don’t wear helmets are at a much higher risk of sustaining head injuries in the event of an accident.
Researchers at the University of Utah Medical Center reviewed the records of 142 children admitted to its pediatric trauma center from 2005 to 2015 for riding- and rodeo-related injuries. Most of the injuries—83 percent—were associated with riding horses, while 13 percent occurred during bull riding.
The data showed that only 28 (19.7 percent) of the injured children were wearing a helmet at the time of the incident. More than half of the young patients brought in for treatment were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI), damage to the brain caused by a jolt, bump or other mechanical impact.
Overall, the data also showed that lack of helmet use increased the risk of TBI nearly threefold.
Reference: “Helmet underutilization by children during equestrian events is associated with increased traumatic brain injury,” Journal of Pediatric Surgery, March 2017
This article first appeared in the July 2017 issue of EQUUS (Volume #378)