Any rider following an incident/fall and sustaining a head injury however slight should be assessed for having a concussion. Concussion can be suspected in the presence of any one or more of the following: symptoms (such as head ache), or physical signs (such as unsteadiness), or impaired brain function (e.g. confusion) or abnormal behaviour.
Presence of any of the following signs & symptoms may suggest a concussion.
Loss of consciousness
Seizure or convulsion
“Pressure in head”
Nausea or vomiting
Sensitivity to light
Sensitivity to noise
Feeling slowed down
Feeling like “in a fog“
“Don’t feel right”
Fatigue or low energy
Nervous or anxious
2. Memory function
Failure to answer all questions correctly may suggest a concussion.
“What venue are we at today?” “What team are you in?”
“What game did you last perform?”
“What is the name of your pony?
“Who is your trainer?
3. Balance testing
Instructions for tandem stance
“Now stand heel-to-toe with your non-dominant foot in back. Your weight should be evenly distributed across both feet. You should try to maintain stability for 20 seconds with your hands on your hips and your eyes closed. I will be counting the number of times you move out of this position. If you stumble out of this position, open your eyes and return to the start position and continue balancing. I will start timing when you are set and have closed your eyes.”
Observe the rider for 20 seconds. If they make more than 5 errors (such as lift their hands off their hips; open their eyes; lift their forefoot or heel; step, stumble, or fall; or remain out of the start position for more that 5 seconds) then this may suggest a concussion.
Any Rider with a Suspected Concussion should be IMMEDIATELY REMOVED from the Arena and assessed medically, not be left alone and should not ride a pony or drive any vehicle.