FEI changes this year put focus on rider health

concussion1US neurosurgeon Dr Allen Kent Sills is preparing information on concussion management and medical cover for organisers for the FEI, the latest FEI Eventing Risk Management seminar heard.

The two-day meeting in late January in Lausanne, Switzerland, was attended by 26 National Safety Officers, and representatives from 22 National Equestrian Federations.

FEI Medical Committee Chair Dr Peter Whitehead updated the seminar on last year’s topic on concussion and medical cards.

He reiterated that concussion symptoms could remain for weeks, and was a different condition from trauma to the brain with actual physical damage.

In Britain, a national policy on sport concussion and management for all sports is to be created. The FEI had co-sponsored the Zurich Concussion symposium, and these guidelines were to be used for all FEI disciplines.

Whitehead said the current medical card system was not reliable as medical or next of kin information was often out of date. A new system being developed included a medical declaration card and a form to be filled in at each event by all athletes stating next of kin/accompanying persons.

“The responsibility had to be with the athlete and raising the awareness of the importance of declaring medical problems.”

He said a tick box was to be added on entry forms mentioning that athletes with a medical condition had to wear a recognised medical alert system (bracelet, barcode on helmet, for example).

A transition period for these changes would take place this year, for implementation in 2015.


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