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

Ball, Jill E.; Ball, Chad G.; Mulloy, Robert H.; Datta, Indraneel; Kirkpatrick, Andrew W.
January 2009
Journal of Trauma Management & Outcomes;2009, Vol. 3, p1
Academic Journal
Background: 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. Methods and results: 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. Conclusion: 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.


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