Ten years of major equestrian injury: are we addressing functional outcomes?

  • Ball J
  • Ball C
  • Mulloy R
  • et al.
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Horseback riding is considered more dangerous than motorcycle riding, skiing, automobile racing, football and rugby. The integral role of rehabilitation therapy in the recovery of patients who have sustained a major horse-related injury is previously not described. The goals of this paper were to (1) define the incidence and pattern of severe equestrian trauma, (2) identify the current level of in-patient rehabilitation services, (3) describe functional outcomes for patients, and (4) discuss methods for increasing rehabilitation therapy in this unique population. A retrospective review of the trauma registry at a level 1 center (1995–2005) was completed in conjunction with a patient survey outlining formal in-hospital therapy. Forty-nine percent of patients underwent in-patient rehabilitation therapy. Injuries predictive of receiving therapy included musculoskeletal and spinal cord trauma. Previous injury while horseback riding was predictive of not receiving therapy. The majority (55%) of respondents had chronic physical difficulties following their accident. Rehabilitation therapy is significantly underutilized following severe equestrian trauma. Increased therapy services should target patients with brain, neck and skull injuries. Improvements in the initial provision, and follow-up of rehabilitation therapy could enhance functional outcomes in the treatment resistant Western equestrian population.




Ball, J. E., Ball, C. G., Mulloy, R. H., Datta, I., & Kirkpatrick, A. W. (2009). Ten years of major equestrian injury: are we addressing functional outcomes? Journal of Trauma Management & Outcomes, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1752-2897-3-2

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