Riding Concussions

There is growing awareness of concussions in rodeo and all western riding, but it is one sport where there has been a much slower adoption of the use of helmets compared to other sports today.  The 2015 movie Concussion created more open dialogue when Will Smith’s character Dr. Benner Omalu fought the National Football League when they tried to suppress his findings on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) brain degeneration suffered by pro football players after sustaining a severe concussion. But studies show that horseback riding is even more dangerous than playing football or hockey, sports in which helmets are now mandatory. Even relatively newer sports like snowboarding and skateboarding, require the athlete to wear a helmet.

Ty Murray the most decorated Rodeo cowboy in history says, “It’s just a cowboy thing in America, the whole idea of the iconic cowboy wearing a hat – in any other sport people would say yeah, they should wear a helmet.” In 2009 change started when more Bull riders then not were wearing helmets, but there continues to be resistance from western riders.

In a recent report, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 69% of student athletes neglect to report possible concussions symptoms. There is a growing breadth of studies highlighting the risk posed to athletes who continue to play with head injuries, but traditional toughness commends pushing through pain. It is a practice deeply ingrained into an athlete's mindset, to help them push through and win. That idea that in order to succeed in sports, and in life for that matter, you need to be tough, gritty, intense and relentless.

In an effort to explore this practice, the non-profit, Headway Foundation, launched a program surrounding sport’s culture and concussions. They created a phrase “New Tough” that they feel speaks most directly and poignantly to the cultural stigma surrounding sports concussions. What they have tried to do with “New Tough” is reframe a pre-existing and understandable term in order to get everyone thinking about concussions a little differently. But there is nothing tough about playing through a head injury or riding without a helmet.

Resistol understood it was time to deliver a real solution to this “New Tough” generation. Resistol has made hand crafted American cowboy hats since 1927. With this expertise and two years of intensive research and development, Resistol introduced the Resistol Ridesafe, the first traditional western style cowboy hat that is fully ASTM/SEI Certified for Protective Headgear used in Horse sports and Horseback riding. They even included a unique Comfort Dial adjustable hat band to ensure a perfect fit for riders. The Resistol Ridesafe hat has already made a difference.

Rodeo competitor Tatum from Arizona had suffered a concussion and serious brain injury when she rode without a helmet. She grew up wearing a regular cowboy hat and never considered the need for head protection. "When I first found out I was going to need to wear a helmet in-order to continue rodeoing or even ride recreationally again I was devastated" said Tatum. She says the Resistol RideSafe hat has given her the opportunity to safely rodeo again and fulfill her dreams. Tatum says," I truly believe the RideSafe hat is going to impact so many people's lives in a good way".

When up and coming Barrel Racer, Lexi of North Carolina was thrown from her saddle during an IPRA competitive event she was glad she had the Resistol Ridesafe hat on her head. Lexi’s horse got spooked and ran into the pen hitting the back gate at a full gallop. Both Lexi and the horse went down and she hit her head hard. Lexi says, “The Resistol Ridesafe hat saved me from receiving a really serious head injury”.

Brain Injuries (concussions) cannot be completely eliminated from Horse Back Riding or Horse Sports Events. But the risk of this type of injury can be reduced simply by wearing an ASTM/SEI Certified Helmet. In fact falls from a horse are the leading cause of concussion (brain injury) today. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that 11,759 children under 15 years of age were seen in hospital emergency rooms the result of horseback riding incidents.  Understand that every time you or someone you love participates in recreational horseback riding, horse sport events, or even while working around the barn doing regular horse care, you are at risk of suffering a possible concussion (brain Injury). Wearing the Resistol Ridesafe will simply cut that risk. It just makes sense and makes you part of the New Tough.

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