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Concussion Checklist: Spot the Signs

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Mar 20, 2017, 10:22 AM EST

Photo: Courtesy of Charles Owen

It can happen to any equestrian: a sudden spook, a miscalculation at a jump, or any bump on the head might cause a concussion. Wearing an appropriate helmet can help prevent such an injury, but it’s important for everyone—parents, coaches, barn mates, and equestrians themselves—to be aware of concussion’s warning signs. Here’s a handy print-and-save reference list that can help you identify a possible concussion—and take the appropriate actions.

What You Might Notice

  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a fall
  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Forgets an instruction or is confused by an assignment
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness, even briefly
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes

What You Might Experience

  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Confusion or concentration/memory problems
  • “Feeling down” or not “feeling right”

What You Should Do

If you suspect someone has a concussion, take the following steps:

  • Remove the rider from the horse, and do not allow him/her to remount
  • Ensure the person is evaluated by an appropriate health care professional. Do not attempt to judge the injury’s seriousness yourself.
  • Allow the athlete to return to practice or competition only with permission from the appropriate health care professional.

Concussion Resources

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