Original research| Volume 22, ISSUE 9, P1010-1013, September 2019

Do riders who wear an air jacket in equestrian eventing have reduced injury risk in falls? A retrospective data analysis



      To investigate the association between air jacket usage and rider injury severity in equestrian eventing competition falls world-wide.


      Retrospective data analysis.


      An analysis was conducted on Fédération Equestre Internationale data for 1819 riders who fell wearing an air jacket and 1486 riders who fell while not wearing an air jacket from 2015 to 2017. Injury data were categorised as either ‘no/slight injury’ or ‘serious/fatal injury’. A chi-square test determined whether an association was present between injury severity category and air jacket usage and binary logistic regression determined the effect size of this association.


      As a result of falls, 3203 riders sustained no/slight injuries and 102 sustained serious/fatal injuries. While 55.0% of riders who fell were wearing an air jacket, they represented 67.6% of the serious/fatal injury outcomes. Air jacket usage was significantly associated with serious/fatal injuries in falls ( = 6.76; p = 0.009). Riders wearing an air jacket had 1.7 times (95%CI 1.14–2.64) increased odds of sustaining a serious or fatal injury in a fall compared to riders not wearing an air jacket.


      Riders wearing an air jacket were over represented in the percentage of serious or fatal injuries in falls compared to riders who only wore a standard body protector. Further research is needed to understand the reason(s) for this finding. It is recommended that additional data on injury outcomes, rider characteristics and the biomechanics of falls be examined in future analyses, and that air jacket and body protector characteristics be further investigated.


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