There does not appear to be one stop shopping for someone to get a feel for what safety infrastructure should be in place when looking for a horse facility or instruction. Equally there is not a good template for facilities, trainers or instructors to offer in person and on their web outreach. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently provided that type of package for concussion in youth sports. The information is readily generalizable to all horse sports. The role of properly fitted and certified helmets in injury reduction is a foundational requirement.
Through a combination of training for adults and coaches, downloadable numerous informational videos, and support materials tailored to lay people who are in positions of responsibility, parents and athletes. The strength of this program is that it raises concussion awareness of everyone involved in youth sports and models ways to handle the strong desire for the competitor to stay in the game or practice. This information is of particular importance to riding instructors. We work against a tradition of getting “back in the saddle” immediately and persevering in the face of adversity. While this may have been a necessary occupational approach in for ranch hands and mounted soldiers; it is counterproductive relative to concussion recovery and prevention of additional injury.
Concussions is that particular injury that can impair individuals’ judgement, often shows no external signs, can have long term debilitating consequences not obvious immediately and substantially increases the chance of other accident or injury. Understanding these risks and how to manage riders who may have had a concussion is a basic part of instructor/coach safety tool kits. The information necessary for patents, families, owners and those associated with horses to support wise decisions relative to helmets, concussion, return to play and recovery should be part of every riding program and association. This information, made available to the public through you practices, webpages and social media is one standard by which the quality of the facility can be measured. EMSA suggests you consider using this information as part of your safety plan and processes.
- CDC Concussion Poster
- Concussion action Plan
- Fact sheet: About Concussion, for Parents and for Coaches
- Contracts for Parents and Athletes
EMSA strives to make horse safety information modules such as this concussion program available to to instructors, facilities and the public for use in planning and decision making for those who are engaged with horses.