It’s Not a Contact Sport that Reports the Most Head Injuries—It’s Horseback Riding
Head Injuries from Horseback Riding Accidents
When most individuals think about head injuries that occur during athletic events, they think about football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, or some other contact sport where players often slam into each other. However, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers discuss a surprising report that shows that the activity with the highest rate of traumatic brain injuries is actually horseback riding.
Neurological Focus released a study that examined data from the National Trauma Databank. Between 2003 and 2012, equestrian sports accounted for 45.2 percent of traumatic brain injuries in adults. The other causes did not even come close: the second most common cause of traumatic brain injuries was falls or hits during contact sports, which accounted for 20.2 percent of the injuries.
Interestingly, another report showed that, when normalized for hours of activity, equestrian sports actually resulted in more hospital admissions than other high-risk activities, such as riding motorcycles.
Why is horseback riding so dangerous? For starters, horseback riders are engaging in activity with another animal—an animal that is incredibly powerful. Every horse has a different temperament, just like humans. Some may be skittish, some many be grumpy, and others may be difficult to train. One study from Sports Med commented, “No horse is a safe horse.”
Are Horseback Riding Accidents Actionable?
Many equestrians are injured when they fall from their horses. Horses may become “spooked” by something that they see and take off running, which may cause the equestrian to fall. They may also buck, kick and even throw a rider off. Many injuries occur off of the horse. For example, a horse may kick a rider as the horse is being led to a stable.
In many situations, it is difficult to sue for injuries that are caused by horseback riding. In any sport, there is an assumption of risk. Of course, the rider must understand the risk that he or she is assuming. Typically, injuries that are expected from a certain activity are not actionable.
However, if a horseback riding facility was negligent in some manner, an injured victim may be able to pursue a claim to recover damages for their injuries. For example, if the facility badly treated the horses, leading to an aggressive temperament, the could potentially be liable for resulting injuries. Similarly, if it allowed a rider to ride a horse that it knew had exhibited unpredictable behavior, it may be liable. Additionally, if the facility did not maintain equipment, such as saddles and reins, the facility can face liability if this equipment broke during a ride and caused injury to the rider. When a horse is trotting or galloping, a faulty saddle or broken reins can lead to serious injury or death.
There may be a fine line between what injuries from horseback riding are actionable and which are not. The skill and expertise of an injury lawyer will be necessary in these complicated claims.
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