CONCUSSION RECOGNITION AND MANAGEMENT (INFORMATION FOR NON MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS)
What is Concussion?
Concussion is a traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal brain function. Concussion is caused by a biomechanical force or hit, to the head or body, transmitted to the brain. One may be concussed with or without loss of consciousness.
Concussion is an underdiagnosed condition which is important to recognise and manage appropriately. While diagnosis needs to be done by a health care professional, any person can assess whether concussion has occurred using the Concussion Recognition Tool (CRT5). It is a good idea to print out this document and keep it available when working with or around horses. Make sure to seek professional advice whenever concussion is suspected. Protective headgear is an essential element of protection against a number of head injuries. For additional information, please click here.
Concussion management is very important to make sure that all symptoms have cleared before return to riding. This is because further damage may occur if the brain receives additional impacts before it has fully recovered from the initial concussion episode.
1. Any athlete with concussion or suspected of having a concussion should be evaluated by an appropriate* health-care professional that day.
2. Cognitive judgement, balance and coordination are impaired in concussion injury. The athlete must not return to riding a horse on the same day
of a concussion.
3. Any athlete with a concussion must follow the stages of return to riding outlined below.
Stages of Return to Riding:
If at any of the stages indicated below the athlete becomes symptomatic, he/she should revert to the first stage of activity for 24 hours before attempting again to move on to the next stage.
1. Rest - No activity, complete cognitive and physical rest, do NOT Ride a horse. Once asymptomatic proceed to stage 2.
2. Progress to light aerobic training (walking, jogging), no resistance training.
3. Progress to sports specific exercise, e.g. riding on the flat, hacking.
4. Gradually increased training intensity.
5. Full training when symptom free.
6. Back to equestrian competition after completion of the Concussion Return to Play form by an appropriate* health care professional.
*Health care professional experienced in the management of sport concussion in line with the International Concussion in Sport Group Guidelines.
More detailed information on concussion aimed at health care professionals can be found here.
FOR FEI OFFICIALS: CONCUSSION MANAGEMENT AT FEI EVENTS
The FEI's Doctor's Pack includes a flow chart that explains the steps to be taken if a concussion is supected at an FEI Event.
The FEI’s general regulatory requirements on athlete safety and welfare are set out in the FEI General Regulations.
Additional discipline-specific requirements may be found in the relevant Sports rules.
Anti-Doping matters are regulated in the FEI’s Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes (ADRHA).
These documents can be found in the “Rules” section in the main menu toolbar of this website. Please use your cursor to select within the dropdown list.