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Equestrian Injury Is Costly, Disabling, and Frequently Preventable: The Imperative for Improved Safety Awareness

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Horse-related injury can be severe and disabling. We investigated the causes, severity, and costs of equestrian injury with the goal of injury prevention. A retrospective review of horse-related injuries from 2001 to 2008 identified 231 patients with a mean age of 38 years and a mean Injury Severity Score of 11 (range, 1 to 45). Mean length of stay was 5.5 days. Fifty-nine patients (25%) required 84 surgeries. Helmet use was 20 per cent and of the 172 patients not wearing a helmet while mounted, 38 per cent received potentially preventable head injuries. There were three deaths of which two were the result of intracranial hemorrhage in riders not wearing a helmet. Mean hospital charge was $29,800 for a total of $6.9 million. Ninety-one patients completed a survey regarding causation and disability. Thirty-four per cent reported wearing a helmet at the time of injury. Forty per cent reported that poor environmental factors contributed, 30 per cent reported poor horse and rider pairing, and 9 per cent reported equipment failure. Fifty-nine per cent reported long-term disabilities. Compared with the general population, respondents had diminution in their ability to perform usual daily activities associated with physical problems, diminution in social function, and higher bodily pain. We conclude that equestrian injury is costly, disabling, and frequently preventable.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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