Monday, September 16, 2013

Blessi and MacKenzie and Riding Helmets

MacKenzie is a princess in her pink helmet.
Mackenzie is my 3 ½ year old grandniece.  She lives near Harrisburg, PA and Blessi is boarded in Port Orchard, WA so the two haven’t met yet.  However, MacKenzie loves hearing about Blessi and she really wants to meet him.  In fact, she can’t understand why I won’t drive him to her house.  I tried to explain that it would take me a week to make the drive.  So MacKenzie suggested that I drive Blessi to my mother’s house instead which is only 12 miles from her house—which is closer to WA state I guess.  Her Bubba (my sister’s husband John) got her this riding helmet as soon as she expressed any interest in horses.  Their neighbors have horses so MacKenzie gets to “ride” from time to time.
I wear a riding helmet 99.99 percent of the time (sometimes I do forget to wear one).  I learned almost as soon as I got Blessi that wearing a helmet was a necessity for me since I am a Klutz, with a capital K.  I was riding Blessi with a friend through the woods.  We were merrily talking away when I rode right into a 5-inch thick tree limb.  And it was all my fault since Blessi is in charge of vertical alignment between trees and I am in charge of horizontal alignment under trees.   The impact was so hard that it left a dent in the helmet, which I had to replace.  So I ride with a helmet.
Wearing a riding helmet is a personal choice for everyone.  But here are some facts about head injuries while riding: "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 neurologic sequelae 13% (seizures, cognitive/vision/speech deficits, motor impairment)

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:
- 24 patients (80%) were not wearing helmets, including all fatalities and craniotomy patients"
http://gift-estate.com/farm/horseinjury.htm
So MacKenzie, give Bubba John a big hug for getting you that helmet!  I love you too!

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