Horseback Riding More Dangerous Than Skis and Motorcycles, Injury Data Reveals


For many people in the United States, a horse is likely to be a sport and recreation partner, rather than a job. Still, it’s a pleasure that comes at a potential price, which many pilots need to take more seriously.

A decade-long study of data from the US National Trauma Data Bank revealed how many people have ended up in hospital as a result of injuries sustained while riding.

Bottom Line: If you’re the type of person who thinks a weekend hitting the snowy slopes isn’t worth the risk of a broken bone, you might want to skip the saddle. Hour by hour, horseback riding resulted in more trips to the hospital than skiing.

For what it’s worth, you’d also be better off playing soccer, or even riding a motorbike, for that matter. A previous study carried out in the UK found that the injury rate for motorcyclists was around 0.14 per 1,000 hours of driving. Riders could expect 0.49 injuries every 1000 hours.

This is not to deter anyone from the fun of a day of hiking the trails. But the team of researchers in Texas behind the study wants to see more public safety messages about the risks of riding.

“Recently, equestrian sports agencies have paid some attention to the use of protective equipment to prevent injuries, especially with regard to concussions and brain injuries,” he added. the team writes in their report, published in the journal BMJ Trauma surgery and acute care Open.

“However, very few public health campaigns have focused on preventing injury to riders using horses for recreation and work.”

This is not the first study to identify the types of injuries Americans are likely to suffer while riding. Much of the previous research, however, has been localized to specific regions, making it more difficult to say whether the nation as a whole faces similar risks.

Few studies have looked at long-term health effects, focusing on the administration and treatment of a specific injury. Still, given what we already know, the results might not be that surprising.

Of all the riders presenting to the hospital following a spill, only around 10% were given the go-ahead. About 37% of people injured while riding go to hospital for trauma to their chest area (chest and upper back), making it the most injured part of the body.

About a quarter sought medical assistance for extremity injuries and just over a fifth for a head injury. In a small handful of cases – just under 4% – admissions were made with a disturbing level of consciousness, which predicted severe neurological damage.

In half of the cases, a stay in a hospital bed was the worst they had to endure. Just over a quarter of all admissions would go to intensive care, however, with one in ten people entering hospital requiring surgery.

Most bikers returned home after their stay without the need for follow-up services, although in about 7% of cases leaving the hospital meant being admitted to rehab or even a care facility.

Tragically, in the years sampled from 2006 to 2017, 320 of the nearly 25,000 people included in the analysis would never return home, losing their lives as a result of their injuries.

It’s a list of statistics that doesn’t have to be as long as it sounds. Despite suffering relatively fewer injuries, football federations have intensified their campaigns for better head protection in recent years, after a strong focus on the risks of brain trauma.

Whether it’s the romance of Hollywood-style driving with no life jackets and helmets, or a feeling of freedom galloping with the wind in your hair, the message to prepare for vertigo isn’t quite so. strong as it should be.

So believe the experts, who conclude that with better campaigns for protective gear and “awareness of the types of injuries, we can continue to enjoy this popular sport while simultaneously reducing the number of serious injuries.”

This research was published in BMJ Journals Trauma surgery and acute care Open.

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