Case Studies and Articles

Statistical Information on Injuries in the Horse Business – Summary by Emmy R. Miller, PhD, RN

Statistical Information on Injuries in the Horse Business – Summary by Emmy R. Miller, PhD, RN

am a nurse working in head injury research.  Someone mentioned that they didn’t know the statistics for

equestrian related head injuries.  Well, have a few sources here and will provide some of them for you.

Sports Medicine 9(1):36-47, 1009

Synopsis:  The most common location of horse-related injuries is:

         upper extremity 24-61% (reported in different studies)

         lower extremity 36-40%

         head and face 20%

The most common type of injury is:

         soft tissue injury 92%

         fractures 57%

         concussion 15%

The most frequent consequence of injury is:

         hospitalization 5%

         residual impairment 2% (i.e. seizures, paralysis, cognitive impairments, etc)

         death 1%

JAMA, April 10, 1996, vol 275, no 14, p. 1072

Synopsis:   During 1992-93 in Oklahoma, horseback riding was the leading cause of sports-related head injury, (109 of 9409 injuries or 1.2% associated with riding and 23 additional injuries attributable to horses)  Of the 109, there were 3 deaths (3%).  The injury statistics were:

         males 55, female 54

         age range 3 yr to 71 yrs, median 30 yrs

         most commonly seen in spring and summer

         48% occurred on Saturday or Sunday

         95% involved riders who struck their heads on the ground or a nearby object after falling from the horse

         4% were kicked or rolled on after falling from the horse

         1% hit head on a pole while riding and fell to the ground

         90% were associated with recreational activities

         10% were work-related

         107 were hospitalized with a median LOS of 2 days

         79% had one or more indicators of a severe brain injury, including

1.        loss of consciousness 63%

2.        posttraumatic amnesia 46%

3.        persistent neurologicsequelae 13% (seizures, cognitive/vision/speech deficits, motor impairment)

Among the 23 injuries not riding related, 21 (91%) resulted from a direct kick to the head by the horse, where died immediately and 2 required CPR.  13 of these injuries occurred in children less that 13 yrs old.

Journal of Trauma 1997 July; 43(1):97-99

Synopsis:   Thirty million Americans ride horses and 50,000 are treated in Emergency Departments annually. Neurologic injuries constitute the majority of severe injuries and fatalities.  A prospective study of all patients admitted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center with equine-related trauma

from July 1992 – January 1996 showed the following:

         18 of 30 (60%) patients were male

         11 (37%) were professional riders

         24 (80%) were head injuries and 9 (30%) were spinal injuries (4 with both)

         age ranged from 3 to 64 yrs

         patients died (17%)

         2 suffered permanent paralysis (7)

         60% were caused by “ejection or fall from horse”

         40% were kicked by the horse, with 4 of these sustaining crush injuries

         6 patients (20%) required craniotomy (i.e. brain surgery)

         24 patients (80%) were not wearing helmets, including all fatalities and craniotomy patients

“Experience is not protective; helmets are.”

This last line is a direct quote from this article.  hope you find these statistics helpful.

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