Concussion or Injury? There's an App for That

Concussion or Injury? There's an App for That

Saddle Up Safely, a rider awareness program sponsored by University of Kentucky (UK) HealthCare; the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; and other community organizations, launched its safety app in October.

The Saddle Up Safely app includes all eight safety booklets in a PDF format; rider safety, trailering, and trail riding checklists; a return-to-riding protocol; and an injury and concussion assessment tool.

The return-to-riding protocol can help assist riders returning to horse-related activities after a concussion or other serious injury. It offers level of activity and exercise recommended by rehabilitation stage to help ensure the rider does not engage in horse-related activities before they are ready.

The injury and concussion assessment tool can help users determine the severity of the equestrian’s accident. Through a series of questions and based upon the rider’s response, the app will prompt the rider to seek medical attention immediately, if necessary. While the app should not be used in place of medical advice by a medical professional, it can help riders and coaches determine when additional assistance is needed.

“We are excited about the ability to make the Saddle Up Safely information more accessible for the people that will use it most,” said Fernanda Camargo, DVM, PhD, associate professor and equine extension specialist at UK. “The app has a sideline concussion assessment tool that should be used by every coach and instructor, especially after a fall. This tool will help the rider determine if they should get back in the saddle or seek medical attention.

“Our concussion assessment is a modified SCAT (sports concussion assessment tool), that was presented at the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sports, held in Berlin in 2016,” Camargo said.

The app is available for Android and iPhone and is free of charge.

Saddle Up Safely seeks to educate current and future riders about the simple steps that can be taken to prevent accidents. Horseback riding is an extremely rewarding and thrilling sport, but it should be safe as well. Through Saddle Up Safely and UK HealthCare, the hope is to make a great sport safer and more enjoyable for all riders and equine enthusiasts.

For more information on Saddle Up Safely, visit or

Alexandra Harper, MBA, is the operations and communications coordinator for the UK Ag Equine Programs.

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