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A 'heads up' on Concussive Injuries

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A heads up on concussive injuries

By George Gorman - inventor of the RS-tor
 

 

 

 

A scientist at Sweden's Gothenburg University has showed that recovery from concussion is much slower than previously thought. Sanna Neselius, also a member of the medical commission of the Swedish Boxing Federation, showed that analysis of the cerebro-spinal fluid after concussion can be used to determine the extent of brain injury.


Neselius' doctoral thesis demonstrated that sports-related concussion heals much slower than previously known, with a heavy concussion, such as that experienced after being 'knocked out', potentially taking more than four months to heal.


Concussion is one of the most common sports-related injuries, and increasing numbers of athletes and riders experience it every year. "[Medical] assessment today is often based on physical symptoms, neuropsychological tests, and the neurological examination of the athlete. However our studies show that these tests are not sensitive enough, nor can we rely on the athlete's self-reported lack of symptoms. Concussion symptoms usually pass after a few days, but the neurological damage may still be present," Neselius said. She also found in her studies that the brains of children and adolescents are more sensitive, and require longer time to heal.

 

BE leads the way in safety ruling


Neselius's studies go hand in hand with British Eventing's relatively recent change to its rules, which state that all riders suffering from concussion will be suspended for 21 days after their concussive event. British Eventing's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Judith Johnson, said that the change to BE's ruling aimed to increase riders' understanding of concussion, and the importance to their future wellbeing in the condition's 'safe management'.


"Many sporting bodies altered their rules in relation to concussion in the light of the Zurich Convention's International Symposium on sports concussion, and the subsequent "Consensus statement on concussion in sport" [which was issued to sporting bodies in 2013]," Judith states. "BE encourages all riders, coaches and officials to read and observe BE's guidelines on concussion. It is important to recognise the seriousness of concussion, not only in competition, but also when teaching or riding at home, and observe the recommendations," she adds.

 

Recovery can be lengthy


In the past it was thought that concussion could be graded, but the latest research shows this not to be the case. A rider with slight confusion after a minor fall may have symptoms which persist for several days or even weeks, whereas a rider who is knocked out may recover fully after a few days! Recurrent concussion is cumulative. If it occurs before full recovery from a previous incident, it may even cause permanent brain damage. Concussion and loss of consciousness should not be confused, however; concussion can result from injuries other than to the head, with no loss of consciousness involved; it may, for instance, result from a jolt to the spine when falling off a horse.


BE has also recognised the condition of 'delayed concussion'. The amended rules state that a rider with suspected concussion should be re-examined two hours after the incident, and that failure to present to the event doctor for re-examination of a suspected concussion will automatically result in 21 day suspension until clarification of the diagnosis can be made.


Reducing the velocity of a fall the RS-tor rider safety aid is an invaluable tool to

(a) help prevent a horse fall completely, or (b) reduce the velocity that the rider's body experiences if a fall takes place, because the product has allowed a 'safer' fall.

 

The RS-tor is attached safety to the saddle bars beneath the leathers, and an elasticised element attached to comfortable end-strap that the rider holds cleverly reduces the velocity of a fall. Should the rider be badly unseated and unable to 'save' themselves from falling, the RS-tor strap will absorb some of their movement as they leave the saddle, sometimes even allowing the rider to land on their feet.

 

It is not allowed in affiliated BE competition, but CAN used in unaffiliated XC events, and is highly recommended for all jumping and cross country training. Visit www.rstor.co.uk

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