Doctor says I can never ride again...
To start from the beginning... I received my first concussion about six years ago during gym class. Then, at the end of December 2011, I received another mild concussion when I got hit in the face from a seat malfunction in my car (very stupid story). My third concussion came at the end of March when I was thrown from my gelding (his feed was terrible and has since been changed). This was a more serious concussion, and I injured my wrist at the same time. My wrist was healed in a few weeks, but my head is a different story. I suffered from typical concussion symptoms: headache, dizzy, trouble concentrating, poor memory, etc. Some of the symptoms finally went away, but most stayed.
The last time I rode was in June, and it was very difficult for me to maintain my balance. Thankfully, my gelding took care of me and I got back from the trail ride safely. I broke my ankle soon after in an unrelated incident, and have not ridden since. My regular doctor is extremely concerned about my continuing symptoms, but a recent MRI showed nothing bad. We have discussed post-concussion syndrome and everything, but my doctor says that I cannot ride ever again. I am normally a slow healer, and two concussion so close to each other have wreaked havoc on my brain. I will be going to the neurologist in the coming weeks, but I expect to hear the same results.
Basically, I am looking for advice about how to "get back in the saddle". I know the risks, and I know I will get negative comments about my decision. Please do not comment negatively. I thought this was the place to come because only horse people understand the need to ride. I ride western, and my gelding is extremely quiet and back to his old self. I have been riding for about 7 years and have owned by gelding for 3. I know him better than I know myself, and I know the signs to watch out for in case of spooking. And yes, I do wear a helmet. Is there anyway to ride more safely? Any equipment that may help me? I would appreciate any advice. And thank you for reading such a long post!!!
I don't have too much to say however I do understand the whole concussion topic because I have had 4 different concussion all throughout my soccer career, leading to me wearing a U90 (padded helmet) while playing (more common these days, even higher levels wear them too) This last season I did not wear it but I understood the risk I was taking. Just something that might help is for a couple weeks have someone lead you around (I know it sounds below your level) but it will help you get use to it again. Help you feel more confident and you can use that time to really find your grove again and how to try and eliminate the symptoms you are feelings. Or even how to cope with them.
Best of luck to you!
Thank you so much! My mother and I run a therapeutic horsemanship program and I have considered being led around the ring, as well as having side-walkers until I can learn to cope with these symptoms. Fingers crossed!
I think that is a wonderful idea especially since you have those tools already in place for your other riders. I really think its going to be the best way to help you figure things out.
one step at a time!
ChipBarGirl, I really feel your situation. In 2003, when I was 25, I injured my spine three ways to sunup and I wasn't even driving! Doctors worked on me for almost two years before saying that there was nothing more that they could do, short of surgery which they all said I was too young for anyway...make a long story short, I'm in the process of weeding through the for sale ads for that "Ah-Ha" horse and I think I've found her, I'm not feeling that pivotal moment most feel right away, but I'm not wanting to jinx myself either. I hope to get back to riding, even with spinal injuries, as I've always wanted a horse of my own for the past 24 years. You might be able to ride around in an arena, but trail riding and/or showing could be too much of a risk. And you have to take precautions now, as you say your balance is off. Who knows if it will go away in time or you may just need to learn to compensate for that if it continues. I will pray for you, and my heart goes out to you. I would definitely utilize a companion rider to go with you until things improve!
If your heart is set on riding then you will most likely ride (I'm willing to be you aren't the first and won't be the last person to ignore a doctors wishes!). Just be as safe as you can be. Always keep that helmet strapped on tight and make sure it fits properly. I would say you should always ride with a buddy that has a cell phone handy as well...just in case something would go awry...accidents happen.
Other than that...good luck with it! I wish you a speedy recovery from the past concussions :)
Thank you so much for all the advice, it has really helped! I will be taking extreme precaution until I can learn to cope with everything. I am moving to a new barn in one week and will not have a whole lot of room for trail riding, so that will not be a problem. I also do not ride alone because of my symptoms. My gelding Chip takes care of me very well and I have not had any problems since he's been back on the right feed. I just cannot imagine life without riding!
I don't want to come across as negative, but I am fairly sure that's how this will be taken anyway.
None of the replies here come from someone holding a medical degree. None of them have busted their asses to get through med school. None of them are up-to-date with current medical research. Hell, I bet half of them don't even have a first aid certificate. And yet here they are dispensing medical advice. I'm sorry, but if that is the response you are after, then you have been hit harder in the head than you think.
If your doctor has told you that you can't ride, have you considered that maybe, just maybe, he or she might just know what they are talking about? I like that you are getting a second opinion. THAT is how to get to the point you can ride again - finding a medical professional who will support your journey back into the saddle. If you can't find one, well maybe you should take the hint then.
If you decide to ride in spite of what the doctors have said, that is on your head (pun unintended). Don't base it on the replies of people that A - don't know everything to do with your medical history and B - are not medical professionals. We may know about that need to get back in the saddle, but we don't know jack about medicine.
you could wear a safety vest that would help and yes I know it riding is very thing to me
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