Two prominent polo players have died as a result of injuries sustained in falls.
Long-time US player Bob Daniels‘ horse reportedly stumbled and he fell to the ground during a 12-goal game in Wellington on 23 March. He was placed on life support and died three days later (26 March).
Juracy Santos (pictured), a Brazilian Guards Polo Club member, suffered critical head injuries in a fall in 2014 (8 July) during the Phoenician Cup. He also died on 26 March following a long period in a coma.
Juracy’s fall prompted H&H polo reporter Aurora Eastwood to start a campaign to encourage the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) to introduce a compulsory hat safety rule (news, 17 July, 2014).
Although safety hats are on the market, most players opt to wear “low profile” helmets with a single strap rather than a three-point harness. Tests carried out by the HPA in 2008 revealed these popular hats provided very poor safety levels (news, 28 May, 2008).
Aurora told H&H the campaign is progressing well and the HPA has formed a safety committee, chaired by Andrew Barlow, a steward of the HPA, polo player and point-to-point rider.
“I’m on the committee and we have been working hard,” Aurora said. “A helmet rule is coming with details expected to be confirmed in mid-April.
“Juracy was a true professional and real gentleman, both on and off the field. He will be greatly missed by the polo community,” she added.
Joe Meyer, chairman of USPA paid tribute to Bob.
“He was the epitome of a polo gentleman, a caring and loving father, and a long time personal friend,” he said.