Could you help with concussion research?

  • Equestrians across Britain, from those who ride for pleasure to leading competitors, are being asked to take part in a survey to aid research into the effects of concussion.

    Professor Huw Williams, associate professor of clinical neuropsychology at the University of Exeter, is seeking Horse & Hound readers who have had one or more falls in which they have hit their head, whether or not they suffered concussion as a result.

    “We will be looking to assess what happened during the accident, whether or not they sustained concussion, what the rider noticed about their condition following the incident and what their aftercare was like,”  said Prof Williams, who is currently conducting research on recurrent concussion in rugby players.

    “We will also seek to discover the time scale between a rider’s bouts of concussion and whether or not they are still suffering from symptoms.”

    The rider concussion survey will start with an online questionnaire that will go live at the end of this year.

    Once the data has been collated, Prof Williams and his team will share the findings with Horse & Hound readers.

    It is hoped that the project will assist riders in obtaining earlier assessments and appropriate aftercare and support, as well as signposting when they need to get help from their GP or another medical professional.

    “Another aspect is resilience,” added Prof Williams. “We want to look at what has helped riders to recover from concussion.

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    “Some recover particularly well from head trauma, which indicates that they are somehow protected, and we want to know why this is.”

    Some respondents may be given the opportunity to assist with other research into acquired brain injury.

    In 2006 Prof Williams undertook a study on neuropsychological dysfunction following repeat concussions in jockeys.

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