Horseback riding one of the leading causes of sports injuries for girls: British study

Junior eventing rider Sasha Hargreaves of Great Britain (photo unrelated to study)
Credit : FEI/Łukasz Kowalski

Tuesday 27 November - 11h25 | Ian Clayton

Horseback riding one of the leading causes of sports injuries for girls: British study

Horseback riding was a relatively significant cause of injuries among girls in a recent study on sports injury-related emergency care visits and admissions at two British hospitals. 

 - Horseback riding one of the leading causes of sports injuries for girls: British study

The report, published earlier this month in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in Great Britain, analyzed emergency care visits by children and adolescents up to 19 years of age for the years 2012–2014. Athletes in this age class represented a substantial proportion of the individuals of all ages coming to hospital with sports injuries (almost half (47.4%) of sports injury-related emergency department attendances and almost one-quarter (23.5%) of sports injury-related admissions), with the highest incidence being at 14 years old for boys, and 12 years old for girls. 

The statistics were broken down by age, gender, sport, injury location, injury mechanism and diagnosis, including concussion/post-concussion, bone fractures and ligament damage.
While the main causes of sports injuries for males in the U.K. data looked at were soccer and two different forms of rugby, for girls it was trampoline, netball and horseback riding. A significant proportion (almost 25%) of the injuries across the board were fractures, mainly in the upper body. 

“In 0–19-year-old females, trampoline was the sport associated with the largest number of injuries, 213 (12.0% of total female sports injury attendances),” the researchers observe, “followed by netball, horse-riding, football and ice-skating with 154 (8.7%), 142 (8.0%), 142 (8.0%) and 120 (6.8%) attendances, respectively…. The largest number of injuries for each sport in 0–19-year-old females occurred at: eight years for trampoline; 14 years for netball; 13 years for horse-riding; 13, 14 and 17 years for [soccer]; and 12 years for ice-skating.”
Horse-riding injuries were 92% female, they add, a number which is obviously also tied to the number of participants in a sport by gender. As a result of their findings, the study's authors Graham Kirkwood, Thomas C. Hughes and Allyson M. Pollock recommend that equestrian sports be one of the activities given special attention for increased injury prevention initiatives.
The researchers also note that in the US, 32% of all life-threatening injuries in children at emergency departments in one study period were sports-related.
The full report can be seen here. 

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