Treat yourself to a new Helmet: It’s National Helmet Awareness Weekend

It’s that time of year again when retailers have banded together and made it easier and less expensive to keep you safer while you’re riding. Sponsored by Riders4Helmets and supported by retailers worldwide, you can save up to 30% on helmets, depending on the brand and the location.

Last year I splurged and bought myself one of the new EQ3 Trauma Void Helmets with MIPS technology. I still find it very comfortable. So much so, that when I found one on sale at SmartPak I bought a second one. Those helmets are darned expensive and I don’t want to worry about the replacement cost of a new one if the original gets damaged.

No matter how immortal you may feel, wearing a helmet is one of the smartest things you can do if you are crazy enough to ride a horse.

A 2007 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that horseback riding resulted in 11.7 percent of all traumatic brain injuries in recreational sports from 2001 to 2005, the

Damaged Charles Owen
Always replace your helmet after a fall where you hit your head. This is a Charles Owen Ayrbrush whose rider took a fall. It was taken apart at the Charles Owen factory to assess the internal damage and while the outside shell of the helmet looked absolutely perfect, you can see that in several areas the white polystyrene internal protective layer has become distorted where it absorbed the impact of the rider’s fall. Click on the photo to go to the article describing this.

highest of any athletic activity. Of the estimated 14,446 horseback-related head injuries treated in 2009, 3,798 were serious enough to require hospitalization. Subdural hematomas and brain hemorrhages comprised many of the serious injuries. According to the Equestrian Medical Safety Association, head injuries account for an estimated 60 percent of deaths resulting from equestrian accidents.

There are factors that may increase the risk of falling, such as a green horse, slippery footing or bareback riding, but it is the height from which the rider falls that most significantly impacts the severity of the injury. According to the Ontario Equestrian Federation, a rider sitting on a horse is elevated eight feet or more above the ground: a fall from just two feet can cause permanent brain damage. Riders ages 10-14 are most likely to be involved in an accident with a horse.

While serious head injury can occur while wearing a helmet, the data very clearly shows that the severity of the head injury can be decreased through helmet wear. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, helmets can reduce head and brain injuries by 85 percent. While helmets are required in equestrian sports that involve jumping, including eventing and show jumping, in high-level dressage competitions, the riders generally wear top hats, which provide no protection. Accidents are less common in competitive dressage, but accidents can occur. While most dressage riders do not wear helmets even when practicing, they are allowed both during practice and competition. (American Association of Neurological Surgeons)

So, don’t miss your chance to order that new helmet that you’ve been hankering after. After all, who can resist a sale?

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