As investigation into the frequency and threat of brain injury in sports increases and gains public attention, researchers have started to turn their attention to non-contact sports as well. Does the threat of neurodegenerative disease from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) exist in sports and activities where no physical contact or high-impact occurs? It looks like signs are pointing to yes, and a staggering contender for highest risk of traumatic brain injury? Equestrian sports.
Examining Head Injury in Equestrian Sports
It may be shocking for some outside of the equestrian sports community to learn that Equestrian sports accidents, like horseback riding, are among the top causes for TBI. In fact, the Journal of Neurosurgery has released a study that labels horseback riding as the leading cause of TBI, topping out over high-impact sports like football, which receives so much of the media attention. Utilizing the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB), the journal’s study reveals that over 45% of TBI among adults were related to horseback riding. Whereas, the second-leading cause of sports-related TBI comes in (not even close) at 20% from contact sports like football.
Despite these staggering numbers, according to a survey by BrainLine, only 20% of equestrians wear protective headgear every time they ride. A leading cause for this disconnect between head protection and the high-volume of brain-related injuries in equestrian sports is a lack of education in concussion signs in the equestrian community. A study by Sports Health reveals that almost 40% of riders with TBI were never educated regarding concussions.
A Change in Culture for Equestrian Sport and Head Injury Needed?
A factor to note in Equestrian culture is that riders are encouraged to immediately get back onto their horses following a fall. This mentality makes establishing true numbers of brain injury in equestrian sports hard due to a failure to seek care and underreporting. As researchers continue to delve into head injury prevalence in sports, awareness and education surrounding the subject is something that should become a lead focus in not only the high-impact sports community, but equestrian sports as well.
Equestrian Sports Skull Caps an Answer?
The Sport Shieldz cap is a padded, form-fitting skull cap that adds an extra layer of shock absorption to increase the effects of protective helmets. They are constructed of a breathable, anti-microbial, high-tech foam that’s comfortable to wear under a helmet or by itself. Our skull caps have shown a reduction of the Severity Index of an impact to the head, as well as Peak G and Force improvement in the majority of evaluations it has undergone by a variety of foundations and research facilities. You may click here to learn more about these tests on our Sport Shieldz skull caps.
Don’t Forget an Equestrian Helmet
While we believe in and our data shows, the additive protective qualities of Sport Shieldz skull caps, a proper fitting helmet is essential in providing optimum protection for the head. Improper fitting can result in serious injury to the wearer and riders must be made aware of the importance of the proper fit so they can achieve optimum performance with both their helmet and skull cap.
If you are considering wearing a Sport Shieldz skull cap under your equestrian helmet, we also recommended contacting the helmet manufacturer to make certain Sport Shieldz will not alter the protective characteristics of your particular helmet.