According to a data analysis from the USA, horseback riding is a more dangerous sport than skiing or motorsports. Horseback riders suffer the most serious injuries that require hospital treatment.
In the U.S. alone, there are approximately 30 million equestrians. Despite these numbers, there is little research on how high the risk of injury is in equestrian sports. A medical research team from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley has launched an investigation into this very issue. Between 2007 and 20016, they evaluated approximately 24,800 equestrian injury records< from the U.S. National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB).
Most frequent type of injury in the thorax
The patients were 47-year-old on average with an almost equal proportion of males and females. The research found that the most common injuries occurred in the thoracic region (37 percent). Injuries to the arms and legs came in second (26.5 percent), followed by the head (23 percent).
Head and neck injuries are the most dangerous
Around 3.5 percent of those injured, particularly in the neck or head, suffered severe neurological damage. The majority of them required hospital treatment and spent an average of four and a half days there. In addition, about 320 people died from their injuries during the study period.
Elderly people seem to be hit the hardest. One in four of those injured in trauma centers was between 50 to 59 years old, and 22 percent were over 60. Nut 13 percent were between 30 and 39 years old.
Risk of injury in equestrian sports is underestimated
About the results of the analysis, the researchers said that the dangers of horseback riding are greatly underestimated. In fact, they said, horseback riding is responsible for many more hospitalizations than other high-risk sports. Although accidents happen more often in other sports, the risk of being hospitalized is higher in horseback riding than in soccer or even in car and motorcycle racing and skiing.
Protective clothing of high importance
Based on the results, the researchers once again emphasize that the right protective clothing can save lives. According to other studies, a large percentage of people who are injured while riding do not wear helmets. Therefore, the research team calls for more awareness of the risk of injury and increased prevention measures to protect head injuries. Even headgear such as cowboy hats do not protect against head injuries.