Concussion Awareness in Youth and Young Adults Engaged in Equestrian Sports in New Zealand
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Engagement of people in physical activity has benefits for both physical and mental health. However, there is also an increased risk of injury, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussion. Whilst considerable attention has been given to addressing concussion in contact sports such as rugby, high rates of TBI's have also been found in people engaging in equestrian activities. There is limited research on concussion awareness in equestrian sports to inform prevention initiatives. This present research has looked at concussion awareness and helmet use within youth and young adults engaged in equestrian sports in New Zealand, through use of an anonymous, online, cross sectional questionnaire. A sample of 258 youth and young adults involved in equestrian sports completed the online survey. Participants displayed good overall knowledge of concussion symptoms, however some gaps were found to exist. Discrepancies between attitude and behavior about concussion management were also found, particularly in relation to helmet use and returning to riding and school. Current concussion education programmes would benefit from using a multi layered approach that address some of the social elements that have been shown to impact attitude, and are particularly salient for the youth and young adult cohort. Additionally a unified set of concussion guidelines that extends across all sports would help to minimize the confusion surrounding concussion management and return to sport rules.