On March 17, 2022, Mariposa Stables Junior Trainers Amber Lleida and Elle O’Brien represented Equestrian Bahamas at The Bahamas’ first Concussion Symposium, hosted by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture in conjunction with the Caribbean Neurosurgery Foundation.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Myron Rolle, Bahamian neurosurgeon, Rhodes Scholar and former collegiate and NFL football player. Other guest presenters included Florida State University Football Head Coach Mike Norvell and New England Patriots Head Athletic Trainer Jim Whalen.
The symposium was intended to raise the awareness of sporting Federations and Associations regarding the issue of concussion in sports. It also serves as a first step in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s plan to ensure that all sporting bodies formulate safety guidelines and policies regarding concussion.
The discussion addressed how concussions occur, their risks and long-term effects, and the cultural stigma surrounding concussion-related injuries. Attendees learned how to assess concussions in the field, as well as proper protocols for treatment, recovery and return to play. Presenters highlighted the importance of self-reporting and self-awareness of concussions in athletes, as well as the importance of athletes, parents and trainers being knowledgeable about concussions.
As lifelong riders and now trainers, Amber and Elle are already familiar with the importance of headgear, safety and concussion awareness. They contributed to the presentations by showing their fellow attendees an example of a safety-approved riding helmet, and explaining the multiple safety protocols our helmets are required to meet. They praised the event as interesting and informative. Amber summed up the most important takeaway from the symposium: “when in doubt, sit it out!”
Concussion awareness is an important topic for all equestrians. Equestrian Bahamas adheres to an extensive concussion protocol as mandated by the FEI, in addition to requiring SafeSport Concussion training for our national coaches and ensuring that a certified EMT is present at all equestrian competitions.
Further information regarding concussion protocols and safety can be found at: